Thomas Crawford Leake III, son of the late T.C. Leake, Jr. and Mary L. Leake, was born July 30, 1919, in Rockingham, N.C. He graduated from Rockingham High School in 1936, and that fall he entered North Carolina State College to study Textile Management. He graduated in May 1940.
Immediately after graduation, he accepted a position with Burlington Mills, in the Bristol, Tennessee plant. In a very short time, he was promoted to assistant supervisor of the weaving department of the plant. In July 1941, he entered the service, going first into the Coast Artillery. In December of the same year, he transferred to the Air Force and received his 2nd Lieutenant’s Commission and his Pilot’s Wings at Dorr Field, Arcadia, Florida, in the Class of 43-D
He served as an instructor for six months at Bartow, Florida and then went overseas in March 1944. On a mission near Couldommiers, France, on August 27, 1944, he was reported missing in action, and later it was announced that he had been killed in action on that day.
He received a citation in July 1944 and the following medals posthumously: Seven Air Medals, the Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, and Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster.
(Source: School of Textiles, North Carolina State College. 1954. The Dedication of the Textile School Library at North Carolina State College of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, Raleigh, May 28, 1954. NCSU Archives.)