Tommy McGuire was born on August 1, 1920, in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He attended Georgia Tech for three years before entering the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on July 12, 1941. McGuire was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Kelly Field, Texas, on February 2, 1942, and was then assigned to the 313th Pursuit Squadron of the 50th Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan, from February to May 1942. He then joined the 56th Pursuit Squadron of the 54th Pursuit Group at Paine Field, Washington, and served in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska from June to October 1942, and then returning to Hamilton Field, California, until March 1943. Lt McGuire then joined the 9th Fighter Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group in New Guinea, where he served until transferring to the 431st Fighter Squadron of the 475th Fighter Group in July 1943. Capt McGuire commanded the 431st Fighter Squadron from May to December 1944, and then served as Operations Officer of the 475th Fighter Group from December 1944 until he was killed in action in the Philippines on January 7, 1945. During World War II, Maj McGuire was credited with destroying 38 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 3 probables and 2 damaged, all while flying the P-38 Lightning. Tommy McGuire's remains were recovered in 1949 and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Fort Dix Army Air Base in Wrightstown, New Jersey, was renamed McGuire AFB in his honor on January 13, 1948.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
He fought with conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity over Luzon, Philippine Islands. Voluntarily, he led a squadron of 15 P-38's as top cover for heavy bombers striking Mabalacat Airdrome, where his formation was attacked by 20 aggressive Japanese fighters. In the ensuing action he repeatedly flew to the aid of embattled comrades, driving off enemy assaults while himself under attack and at times outnumbered 3 to 1, and even after his guns jammed, continuing the fight by forcing a hostile plane into his wingman's line of fire. Before he started back to his base he had shot down 3 Zeros. The next day he again volunteered to lead escort fighters on a mission to strongly defended Clark Field. During the resultant engagement he again exposed himself to attacks so that he might rescue a crippled bomber. In rapid succession he shot down 1 aircraft, parried the attack of 4 enemy fighters, 1 of which he shot down, single-handedly engaged 3 more Japanese, destroying 1, and then shot down still another, his 38th victory in aerial combat. On 7 January 1945, while leading a voluntary fighter sweep over Los Negros Island, he risked an extremely hazardous maneuver at low altitude in an attempt to save a fellow flyer from attack, crashed, and was reported missing in action. With gallant initiative, deep and unselfish concern for the safety of others, and heroic determination to destroy the enemy at all costs, Maj. McGuire set an inspiring example in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.