Thomas Sexton (b. ???? – d. 29th March 2853) was an officer in the Star League Defense Force during the Reunification War-era and was executed by the commander of the Outworlds Alliance Task Force, General Amos Forlough, after a military defeat on the planet of Haynesville.
At the beginning of Operation UNION HOLD, the Star League invasion of the Outworlds Alliance in 2581, Thomas Sexton was a Lieutenant General in the Star League Defense Force, and was the Commanding Officer of the 37th Royal Brigade, one of three brigades that made up the 13th Royal Division within V Corps.
The 37th Royal Brigade first saw action in 2582 following protests to senior SLDF officers from the commander of V Corps, Major General Laszlo Hooker, at the lack of action V Corps had seen during the first year of the invasion, principally as a result of the lack of confidence General Forlough had in V Corps compared to II Corps, the other SLDF corps within the Task Force.
Lt. Gen Sexton was tasked with the invasion of Haynesville, and the 37th landed on the world on the 7th of February 2582. Initially, Sexton's troops appeared to make quick progress towards securing Haynesville, but the 37th's efforts stumbled over the 14th and 15th of February as local militia forces staged a series of attacks. Unbeknownst to Sexton, Haynesville was one of a number of worlds pledged to become protectorates of the Federated Suns under the terms of the secret Tancredi Accord, and the local militia had been extensively trained for four months prior to the arrival of the 37th by Captain Joshua March, a trained AFFS officer.
After the initial attacks by the militia, Sexton decided to redeploy his infantry along with his 'Mech and armor forces, a process that took roughly a week; the militia forces used that week to score a number of victories against the 37th, including the defeat of a complete mixed company of 'Mechs and armor at the Braszos water plant and twice deflected attempts by Sexton to have his forces follow Forlough's standing order to punish resistance to SLDF forces by leveling civilian towns and cities.
In early March, the Haynesville militia received reinforcements in the form of a detachment from the Pitcairn Legion, who immediately began working with the militia forces to generate the impression that Sexton and the 37th were up against substantial forces. By staging multiple attacks and disguising damage to Legion 'Mechs by cosmetic means, the Alliance forces successfully deceived Sexton, who believed that he was facing a force with superior numbers. By the 27th of March, the 37th was running low on supplies and had received no word of reinforcements, leading Sexton to formally surrender to the Pitcairn Legion on the 29th of March.
Under guard, Sexton and his men built internment facilities for themselves, and were discovered there by reinforcements from the 39th Royal Brigade, who landed on Haynesville in early April. General Forlough arrived on Haynesville soon after receiving reports on what had happened, and began an extremely harsh campaign of punishment against both the civilian population and the officers of the 37th. Sexton was punished the most severely of all; he was convicted of cowardice under fire, and hanged on the 29th of March 2583.
Death and afterward
Thomas Sexton's actions on Haynesville and his resulting death had a number of consequences. One in ten of the civilian population of Haynesville were executed by Star League forces at the orders of General Forlough, and the largest city on the planet was razed. Every officer in the 37th of the rank of captain or above was demoted and imprisoned under convictions for cowardice and dereliction of duty; the commanding officer of the 13th Royal Division was dismissed, along with the assistant commanding officer and operations officer, as well as Major General Laszlo Hooker and his second in command.
The Outworlds Alliance Militia captured enough 'Mechs from the 37th to allow two new BattleMech regiments to be formed with cutting-edge SLDF equipment, the Pitkin Lancers and the Santiago Carabiniers, both of whom saw extensive service against the Star League forces invading the Alliance.
While the defeat of the 37th provided a morale boost for all of those in the Periphery nations resisting invading Star League forces, Sexton's execution and the fate of the other officers from the 37th had a corrosive effect on the morale of the other Star League units within the Outworlds Alliance as it created the most obvious example to date of the viciousness of Forlough's temper, resulting in the units within the Task Force both treading more carefully and attacking more recklessly, in fear of bringing Forlough's wrath down on themselves.
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 119, "Haynesville"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 120, "Haynesville"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 119, "Reverberations of Haynesville"