Lt. Col. Thomas John Classen served as a lieutenant colonel in the 393rd Bombardment Squadron.
By 1943, Tom was the captain of the 72nd Squadron. They operated from both Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal during this time. They flew 49 missions by February 9, 1943. After a 30 day leave, Tom was assigned to the 9th Bomb Group.
When this Group disbanded, Classen was asked to become the commander of the 393rd Bombardment Squadron. He was well respected by his fellow officers and enlisted men. The 393rd was secretly selected to become the Group tasked with dropping the nuclear bombs over Japan.
He was the regularly assigned aircraft commander for the Big Stink, with Crew A-5, and he and his crew were later reassigned to Luke the Spook at Roswell Field. Under the command of Colonel Paul Tibbets Jr., Classen was advanced to Deputy Group Commander of the 509th Composite Group.
After the war Classen continued his USAAF and USAF careers, serving as the Director of Operations and Training Headquarters of the Alaska Air Command. He and his wife Rose were very active in wildlife preservation and protection.