Thompson, Floyd James, COL

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1964-1973, POW/MIA
Service Years
1956 - 1982


Special Forces


Seventeen Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
New Jersey
New Jersey
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by COL Mike Berger (007-6) to remember Thompson, Floyd James (Jim), COL USA(Ret).

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Key West

Date of Passing
Jul 16, 2002
Location of Interment
Buried at Sea, North Atlantic Ocean
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord US Army Retired (Pre-2007) Special Forces Group

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Other Comments:
Jim Thompson was a Special Forces Captain when he was captured in Vietnam. He endured nine years in captivity and became the longest held POW in United States history, Jim was captured when the Bird Dog he was co-piloting was downed by small arms fire on March 26, 1964. He suffered burns, a bullet wound, and a broken back, and was captured by the Viet Cong. The pilot Captain Richard L. Whitesides, was not found.

Jim spent more than half his captivity in the hands of the VC, tortured, starved, and isolated from other POWS. He was later moved to the Hanoi prison system and was the last person released on March 16, 1973, in Operation Homecoming. By the time he was released Jim had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Among his decorations is the Vietnamese Military Merit Medal - their equivalent of our Medal of Honor.

I worked with Jim at MILPERCEN after he came back. He told me that after he had been in captivity for some time, his VC captors brought him a news story about how the US Government had created a POW remembrance day - they made fun of him and the US for such a stupidly sentimental gesture. Lying in his cage they let him see the article and he realized that the day of the year originally selected (March 26) was the day he had been captured - someone had remembered him. He said that fact alone kept him going for a year.

While at MILPERCEN Jim was up for Colonel but was not selected. He asked the Selection Board why he was passed over and was told he was not "competitive." He wrote a great reply saying, "You are damn right I am not competitive. When my fellow officers were becoming competitive I was lying in a 3 foot x 3 foot x 6 foot bamboo cage." He was promoted.

Medical problems finally caught up with Jim and he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. He was 49 when he was forced to retire in 1982.

Note: Awards and decorations as shown are incomplete. He was also awarded the Vietnamese Veterans Medal 1st Class.

I wish to thank MAJ Mark Cooper for helping identify Jim's additional A&Ds.

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   1956-1963, US Army

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Last Updated: Aug 6, 2016
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267 Members Also There at Same Time
US Army

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Owens, Ira, LTG, (1959-1996) MI 35A Lieutenant General
Cowan, Donald, COL, (1951-1985) Colonel
Timoney, Gerald P., COL, (1975-1977) Colonel
Williams, Harold L., COL, (1943-1978) QM Colonel
Lillyman, Frank Lewis, LTC, (1933-1968) IN 1542 Lieutenant Colonel
McKinsey, Ray, LTC, (1942-1973) IN 1542 Lieutenant Colonel
Clark, Carlton, MAJ, (1951-1981) IN 1542 Major
Crecy, Warren G.H,, MAJ, (1942-1965) AR 1203 Major
Givens, James, MAJ, (1955-1976) IN 11B20 Major
Nilsson, Sr., Jack QM 4403 Major
Reed, Charlie, MAJ, (1954-1976) IN 11A Major
Treadwell, Jack, COL, (1941-1974) IN 1542 Major
Wahlen, George, MAJ, (1943-1969) Major
Gerstel, Howard Martin, CPT, (1961-1967) MD 3139 Captain
Harry, Clifford Robert, CW3, (1943-1965) AV 1981 Captain
Kennedy, George Harris, CPT, (1943-1959) SC 7899 Captain
Moua, Charlie, CPT, (1963-1973) AV 9668 Captain
Newcombe, David, CPT, (1957-1959) Captain
Nilsson, Sr., Jack QM 4445 Captain
Powell, Colin, GEN, (1958-1993) Captain
Rubio, Euripides, CPT, (1956-1966) IN 1542 Captain
Walters, James, CPT, (1946-1968) TC 0606 Captain
Franklin, Eugene Delano, CPT, (1954-1965) IN 1542 First Lieutenant
Jones, Robert, CPT, (1954-1962) AD 1177 First Lieutenant
Krutt, Richard, 1LT, (1958-1960) MI 9630 First Lieutenant
Marshall, Donald, MAJ, (1953-1981) FA 1193 First Lieutenant
Marshall, Donald, MAJ, (1953-1981) FA 1193 First Lieutenant
Schloetter, Gerald, 1LT, (1960-1963) AD 1177 First Lieutenant
Stoneburner, John Fredrick, MAJ, (1953-1964) FA 1193 First Lieutenant
Stoneburner, John Fredrick, MAJ, (1953-1964) FA 1193 First Lieutenant
Fajardo, Sixto, 2LT, (1939-1959) FA 1154 Second Lieutenant
Mance, William, COL, (1962-1996) MS 3506 Second Lieutenant
Marshall, Donald, MAJ, (1953-1981) FA 1193 Second Lieutenant
McDill, Bill, CPT, (1963-1968) MS 3506 Second Lieutenant
Schaffer, John [Jack], CPT, (1958-1965) FA 1193 Second Lieutenant
Schloetter, Gerald, 1LT, (1960-1963) FA 1154 Second Lieutenant
Hughes, Avery, CW4, (1950-1984) AG 420A Chief Warrant Officer 4
Deitsch, Charles Edward, CW4, (1943-1968) AV 100C Chief Warrant Officer 4
Dunlap, William Charles, CW2, (1958-1969) AV 062B Chief Warrant Officer 2
Fetterman, Glenn Leroy, CW2, (1959-1969) AV 062B Chief Warrant Officer 2
Myers, James R, CW2, (1954-1974) MP 951A Chief Warrant Officer 2
Chamberlain, Robert F., WO1, (1957-1966) Warrant Officer 1
Duneman, Allen Eugene, WO1, (1962-1968) AV 062B Warrant Officer 1
Pessin, Robert H., COL, (1952-1982) MI 971A Warrant Officer 1
Willis, Billy, CSM, (1947-1978) FA 13Z Command Sergeant Major
Gurick, Edward, SGM, (1963-1988) Sergeant Major
Johnson, Edward R., SGM, (1948-1978) AG 71L Sergeant Major
Kronable, Jackie, 1SG, (1962-1984) IN 00F First Sergeant
Picklesimer, Virgil, 1SG, (1958-1986) MP 95B First Sergeant
Carpenter, John, MSG, (1953-1981) AV 67Z Master Sergeant
Wallace, James, MSG, (1959-1992) OD Master Sergeant
Cooley, Ron, SFC, (1957-1977) EN 62E10 Sergeant First Class
Ellish, Bill, SFC, (1951-1973) Sergeant First Class
Fowler, Daniel Charles, SFC, (1955-1967) IN 11B10 Sergeant First Class
Helton, James Edward, SFC, (1952-1966) IN 11C20 Sergeant First Class
Huff, Stan, SGM, (1955-1981) Sergeant First Class
Huggins, Gordon Samuel, SFC, (1947-1965) IN 11B10 Sergeant First Class
Joel, Lawrence, SFC, (1946-1973) Sergeant First Class

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