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Brigadier General
James H. Thompson
James H. Thompson was born in Lansing, Michigan on the 6th of June 1916. He graduated from high school in Packer, Illinois in 1934. In civilian life, between the years 1935 and 1939, he was employed as a shipping clerk in Cleveland, Ohio.

From February of 1938 to June of 1939, he served as an enlisted airplane mechanic in the 108th Observation Squadron, Illinois National Guard. In June, 1939 he enlisted as a flying cadet, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the CIC-ORC (Air Corps-Officer's Reserve Corp) upon completion of his training on 23 March 1940. He was ordered to active duty on the following day. From 24 March 1939 until 25 September 1940, he was a pilot in the 99th Bomb Squadron at Mitchell Field, New York. On 26 September 1940 he became a Flight Commander in the 2nd Squadron, 22nd Bombardment Group (M), Langley Field, Virginia. He received an AUS (Army of the U.S.) promotion to First Lieutenant on 1 November 1941. He was elevated in grade to Captain, AUS-AC, 23 April 1942, and to Captain, AUS, on 1 June 1942.

From 15 May 1941 to 23 December 1942, he acted as Operations Officer for the 40th Bomb Squadron, 13th BG (M), Orlando Air Base, Florida. From 24 December 1942 until 30 April 1943 he was assistant Operations Officer in Headquarters Squadron, 25th Antisubmarine Wing at Mitchell Field, New York. On 7 January 1943 he was promoted to Major, AUS-AC, and on 25 February of the same year to Major (AUS). From May, 1943 Major Thompson was stationed at Westover Field in the 24th Antisubmarine Sqn. From 1 October until 9 December 1943, he was Commanding Officer of the 843rd Bomb Squadron, Kearney, Nebraska and MacDill Field, Florida. From 20 March 1944 to 23 July 1944, he was Unit Operations Officer of Headquarters, MacDill field Replacement Training Unit (H).

Lt Col James H. Thompson
Operations Officer
Guam Nov 1945
B-29 # 44-69756
"City of Binghamton"
"Silver Streak (P-23)
Photo Courtsey of Richard Kelso, son in-law, J. H. Thompson

From 24 July 1944 until 4 August 1944, he was at the 314th Bomb Wing (VH), Peterson Field, Colorado Springs, Colorado, awaiting assignment. On 5 August 1944, he was assigned as Group Operations Officer in Headquarters, 39th Bomb Group (VH), Salina, Kansas. On 8 December 1944 he was promoted to Lt Colonel. By way of Harrington AAF, Kansas and Mather Field, California, Colonel Thompson arrived with the first contingent of 39th BG B-29 aircraft at North Field, Guam on 24 May 1945. As acting Command Pilot he flew nine combat missions with the group, and in addition, led one group mission, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star for his efforts. Along with other staff members, Colonel Thompson flew the last 39th BG B-29 out of North Field on 29 October 1945.

After returning to the United States, Colonel Thompson opted to remain on active duty and accepted a regular commission in the USAAF in June of 1946. He spent the majority of his service in the latter 1940's at FTWAAF (later Carswell AFB) as Director of Operations. In February 1951 he was promoted to full Colonel and transferred to Rabat, Morocco to Headquarters Squadron, 5th Air Division. His wife, the former Betty Jane Cooper, and his four daughters accompanied him to Rabat.

In October, 1952, Colonel Thompson returned to the US, and was assigned to the 373rd Bombardment Squadron at Hunter AFB, GA. During his tour at this base he transitioned to the B-47 aircraft. He transferred from Hunter in March of 1955 To Barksdale AFB, LA as Director of Operations.

After his tour at Barksdale AFB, Colonel Thompson was assigned as Wing Commander of the 19th Bombardment Wing at Homestead AFB, FL. In 1960, he commanded the Titan Missile activation at Lowry AFB near Denver, CO. During the period of September, 1962 to September, 1965, Colonel Thompson was Director of Materiel, Headquarters, 2nd Air Force, at Minot AFB, ND.

He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1965 and spent eighteen months in South Viet Nam as Deputy Chief of Staff for Materiel, 7th Air Force, where he oversaw the building of four new runways and the upgrading of six others plus supervision of Air Force materiel activities.

Returning to the United States, General Thompson took command of the 19th Air Division at Carswell AFB. He retired from the USAF in 1968 and accepted the position of vice president-Operations and Personnel for Leonards Department Stores, a division of Tandy Corporation. He remained there for fifteen years.

Prepared by Richard Kelso, son in-law

General Thompson passed away May 1986

If you would like to contact Richard Kelso regarding Gen. Thompson he can be emailed at:
Source: Major RIchard Kelso, (USAF ret), son in law