Thomas A. Hooper was born in Oakdale, California, on September 29, 1948, and commissioned in the Infantry after completing Officer Candidate School in 1968. He served from 1968 to 1970 as a rifle platoon leader, support platoon leader, company executive officer, and company commander in the 6th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment in Alaska. After a break in service, he returned to the Army and in 1971, he deployed to Vietnam as an Infantry advisor for the Military Assistance command. Following completion of the Special Forces Officer Course, he was assigned as an assistant operations officer in the 5th Special Forces Group.
Hooper transferred to the Ordnance Corps in 1975 and began a series of troop assignments in the 82nd Airborne Division in 1976. From 1976 to 1978, he commanded a forward support company and then the main support company of the 782nd Maintenance Battalion. Following command, he served as the division's repair parts officer and assumed responsibility for reconstituting and improving the mobility of its authorized stock. Then, as the Chief of Supply, he took on the task of rewriting the division's supply regulation, an achievement previously considered too difficult for a single officer.
At the personal request of the Chief of Ordnance, Hooper was assigned to the Ordnance Center and School at Aberdeen Proving Ground from 1979 to 1981. His troop and field experience were invaluable in developing Army Training and Evaluation Programs (ARTEP) for maintenance units and in revamping the Skill Qualification Test (SQT) program. As a result of his efforts, the Ordnance Corps published new training documents for every maintenance unit in the Army and fielded 48 SQT instruments.
From 1982 to 1985, Hooper served as Logistics Plans and Force Structure Officer, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, US Army Europe. He then assumed command of the 67th Maintenance Battalion at Fort Benning, providing maintenance, ammunition, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) support to the 75th Ranger Regiment, the 197th Infantry Brigade, and the 36th Engineer Group.
In 1987, Hooper was selected to be an Advanced Operational Studies Fellow and Seminar Leader at the Army's prestigious School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth. Next, he served in Korea from 1989 to 1993, first as Chief of the Plans, Programs, and Systems Division, G4, Eighth Army; and then as the Commander, 34th Support Group. Under his command, the installation at Yongsan was recognized as an Army Community of Excellence.
From 1993 to 1996, Hooper served as Commandant of the US Army Ordnance Missile and Munitions School and Commander of the 59th Ordnance Brigade at Redstone Arsenal. During his tenure, he directed 1,200 faculty and staff at seven locations, activated an electronics maintenance training battalion at Fort Gordon, and was instrumental in reorganizing EOD units into a company and battalion structure that enhanced command and professional development opportunities for EOD officers.
Hooper concluded his career at the Pentagon as an advisor to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Department of the Army. In this assignment, he led a multi-functional and multi-organizational team which developed and tracked 94 logistics initiatives that improved business operations and saved $2.5 billion over a five-year period.
COL Hooper retired in 1998 after 30 years of distinguished service to the US Army.