“When You Get Tired Of Losing, You’ll Start Winning”: Success At West Point, In The Army, And In Business

Thomas S. Abraham Jr.


Thomas Abraham grew up in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in a blue-collar family. His father was a factory worker, and his mother was a stay-at-home mom who took care of the four Abraham children. His grandparents were immigrants from Syria. Tom was a gifted athlete, and was recruited by West Point. This was a tremendous opportunity, because no one in his family had gone to college and he wanted an engineering education. At the Academy, he discovered that academics were tough, and playing sports compounded his scholastic difficulties. Even so, he played football and wrestled, struggled with riding the pine his Plebe year, and eventually suffered two knee injuries. Upon graduation, he branched Infantry and, after a short stint coaching the Iraqi Army Wrestling Team, deployed to Vietnam in late 1966 with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He loved his assignment to the 173rd, and remembers meeting up with his classmate, Bob Arvin, overseas. He led a platoon for five months, participating in some heavy fighting and making a combat jump. Returning from Vietnam, he was stationed at the Army Training Center at Fort Polk, where he taught young Soldiers what to expect in Vietnam. After leaving the Army, he entered the business world, worked for the state governments of Maryland and Pennsylvania, and gave back to the military by helping veterans. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, playing sports, his time at West Point, and his service in the Army. He describes the challenges and successes he experienced at the Academy. He discusses his service in Vietnam, providing details on patrols and ambushes. He explores his post-military career, explaining how things he learned at West Point and in the Army helped his business career. Finally, he expresses what the United States Military Academy, and his service to the veteran community mean to him.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics USMA 1965 West Point History Army Athletics Camaraderie Courage Leadership Military Techniques Wartime Decisions
interviewer David Siry
date 24 May 2018


name Thomas S. Abraham Jr.
institution USMA
graduation year 1965
service Infantry
unit C Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade
service dates 1965 1968