Colonel Tom J. Rounsaville was born 23 July 1919 in Bryan County, near Durant, Oklahoma, and grew up in Atoka, Oklahoma. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1940, assigned to the 180th Infantry Battalion, 45th Infantry Division. He was selected to Officer's Candidate School in 1942.
As a 1st Lieutenant, Rounsaville was assigned to the Sixth Army's renowned Alamo Scouts. In 1944 he received the Bronze Star for leadership of a reconnaissance team that rescued Dutch and Javanese personnel held prisoner by the Japanese in the Philippines. In January 1945 the Scouts were part of a Ranger Force that liberated 511 American and Allied prisoners of war, including survivors of the Bataan Death March, near Cabanatuan. Prior to the rescue, the Scouts reported 75 guards and 3,000 enemy troops in the vicinity. After a 25-mile night march, they launched an assault and all guards were killed. The prisoners were led three miles to safety, and many in poor physical condition were hand-carried. While en route, the rescuers encountered 800 enemy troops and were attacked by tanks, which they repulsed, sustaining minimal casualties. For their heroic actions, members of the Alamo Scouts and Ranger Force were awarded the Silver Star. The raid is memorialized in several books.
Rounsaville continued to serve during the Korea War, often in hand-to-hand fighting. During the Vietnam conflict, he used his knowledge of jungle warfare to design realistic stateside training. In 1966, he received the Legion of Merit Award as Chief of Staff, Joint Task Force 11, U.S. Strike Command, MacDill Air Force Base.
Rounsaville's additional awards include the Joint Service Commendation, Purple Heart, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Korean Service Medal, and Philippine Liberation Medal.
Rounsaville died 14 April 1999 and is buried at the Fort Benning, Georgia, Post Cemetery.