Thomas “Gunner” Laster



CWO4 Thomas Brian “Gunner” Laster was born in Louisville, Kentucky on April 20, 1962, and graduated from Fern Creek High School in May 1980. Upon graduation he attended Recruit Training at RTC Great Lakes Illinois in July 1980 and then proceeded to Aviation Ordnanceman “A: School in Millington, Tennessee in September 1980. In January of 1981, Gunner Laster reported to the Hellrazors of VA-147 for A-7E Framp. Upon completion of his training, he reported to the Valions of Attack Squadron 15 at NAS Cecil Field, Florida where he completed two Mediterranean deployments aboard USS Independence CV-62.

In August of 1984, Gunner Laster reported to the Outlaws of Light Attack Weapons School Pacific where he served as an instructor for both A-7 and F/A-18 conventional and nuclear weapons loading. During his tenure at the Weapons School, Gunner Laster was advanced to Petty Officer First Class and designated as both and Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist and a Master Training Specialist.

In August of 1987, Gunner Laster reported to USS American CV-66 home-ported at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia where he completed a deployment to the Indian Ocean as the Missile Shop Leading Petty Officer and was advanced to Chief Petty Officer in September of 1989. Upon his return from deployment, Gunner Laster transferred to the Sunliners of Strike Fighter Squadron Eighty One at NAS Cecil Field, Florida where he deployed on board the USS Saratoga CV-60 for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

January of 1992 saw Gunner Laster return to the west coast to the Naval Strike Warfare Center at NAS Fallon, Nevada. While attached to Strike “U.” he served as the ordnance branch chief and as a Quality Assurance Reprehensive for the F/A-18, A-6, and H-3 Aircraft. After two years of shore duty, Gunner Laster cut his tour short and transferred to the staff of Commander, Carrier Air Wing Eleven at NAS Miramar in sunny San Diego, California where he completed two deployments aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln CVN-72 and the USS Kitty Hawk CV-63.

In May of 1998, Gunner Laster once again reported to the Outlaws of now Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific in Lemoore, California, where he served as Command Chief and as Assistant Weapons Officer.

August of 2001, Gunner Laster was commissioned as a Chief Warrant Officer and reported to the Tophatters of Fighter and then Strike Fighter Squadron FOURTEEN where he completed two deployments aboard the USS Nimitz CVN-68 including another trip to the gulf for Iraqi Freedom.

November 2005 saw Gunner Laster depart Lemoore and report to the Navy Air Logistics Office in New Orleans, Louisiana as the schedules officer. Although New Orleans is a wonderful place and felt like home, not to mention the arrival of James and John, it had to be done yet again and Gunner Laster cut his tour short to return to sea.

After a little more than 18 months of shore duty, Gunner Laster reported to the Bounty Hunters of VFA-2 back in sunny Lemoore in July of 2007 and immediately embarked on work ups aboard the Abraham Lincoln once again. He completed another deployment to the Middle East and supported operations in both Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom and in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Gunner Laster has four children: Tiffany, Eric, James and John; and 4 grandchildren: Ava, Evy, Lana, and Calvin. He is married to the former Amy Scoggins of Jackson, Mississippi. Gunner Laster and Amy have chosen to reside in Madison, Mississippi with their sons, James and John.