Class of 1968
Inducted May 2016
Tom Sobieck was a 1968 graduate of Royalton High School where he excelled in football, basketball and baseball. Tom was very involved in the arts. He was a member of the chorus and played baritone in the band and marching band. Tom also spent some time on stage and played the role of a bum in a production by O. Henry, titled Full House, in his senior class play. Following graduation from Royalton High School, Tom attended Bemidji State University where he obtained a degree in Earth Sciences.
Upon graduation from college, he joined the Navy and was commissioned as an Ensign O-1 in March 1973. Tom received his Naval Flight Officer Wings later that year and scored high enough in performance in the Training Command to be selected to fl-y F-4J Phantoms. Tom’s first deployment was to Vietnam and at the time of his assignment the war was winding down. Tom transitioned to flying the F-14 A Tomcat and made several deployments to places such as Eastern Pacific, Sea of Japan, South China Sea, Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.
In Tom’s climb up the Navy ranks, he was selected as an instructor in the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) and was promoted to the Executive Officer position. Tom also showcased his skills as an enemy (Soviet) in the little Black F-5’s for the movie Top Gun. In 1989, he was selected for Command of a Fleet Fighter Squadron as well as the VF 51 (The Screaming Eagles).
Tom attended US Navy War College in Newport, Rhode Island receiving a Master of Arts in National Defense and Strategic Studies. He was promoted to bonus Command of the Navy’s largest F-14 Fighter Squadron VF-124. To give you an idea of this position, Tom directed this squadron that had fifty two aircraft and more than twelve hundred men and women assigned to train new Fleet Replacement Pilots and Naval Flight Officers.
Tom retired from the Navy with twenty five years of service in August of 1998. In describing his achievements in the Navy, Tom has this to say, “None of the aforementioned accomplishments would have been possible without the foundations for study and discipline I learned during my years growing up and being educated by those hard working and little appreciated teachers and administrators at Royalton High School.”
Tom is very proud of his heritage and upbringing and it can be summed up in this quote: “I have had the opportunity to see thousands of people in my lifetime and very few individuals measure up character wise to those of us who had the good fortune to attend a school like Royalton.”
Tom and his wife Bonny live in Paseo Cardiel, California. They have two children, Kristen and
Erin and spend as much time as they can with their five grandchildren.