Navajo Nation mourning death of 98-year-old World War II veteran

Aug 3, 2021, 11:30 AM
Thomas Lynch Jr. (Navajo Nation Photo)...
Thomas Lynch Jr. (Navajo Nation Photo)
(Navajo Nation Photo)

PHOENIX — The Navajo Nation is mourning a World War II veteran, prisoner of war and Arizona native who died last week at age 98.

Thomas Lynch Jr. served with the 42nd Rainbow Division of the U.S. Army from May 1943 to December 1945, Navajo Nation said in a press release.

He was captured during the Battle of the Bulge and was a German POW for about four months until his release in April 1945.

Flags will fly half-staff on Navajo Nation on Wednesday to honor Lynch, who was honorably discharged from the Army at the rank of corporal.

“We honor and give thanks to our Diné warrior, Thomas Lynch, Jr. who served our country with great honor in World War II and experienced the very worst of conflict as a prisoner of war,” President Jonathan Nez said in the release.

“Despite the harsh treatment inflicted on him during the war, he persevered and built a good life for his family while giving back to his communities.”

Lynch, who lived in Window Rock, spent 35 years as a realty specialist with the Bureau of Indian Affairs after his military service.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Fort Defiance Veterans Cemetery.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Lynch’s family for funeral expenses.

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Navajo Nation mourning death of 98-year-old World War II veteran