Thompson, Floyd James, COL

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
5 kb
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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


Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

3 kb

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 

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

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Not Specified
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, however, in 2014, the Pentagon announced that Whitesides's remains had been found, recovered and identified. He was buried at the United States Military Academy.

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: Jim earned 18 Overseas Service Bars - the highest number ever awarded. His 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.


 Photo Album   (More...

   1963-1964, 1542, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

From Month/Year
- / 1963
To Month/Year
March / 1964
7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Unit Page
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Not Specified
Vietnam, South (Vietnam)
 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Details

7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
"Lo Que Sea - Cuando Sea - Donde Sea"
Ground Unit
Parent Unit
Special Forces Units
Created/Owned By
QM Melendez, Raphael (S14), MSG 6

Last Updated: Dec 4, 2017
My Photos For This Unit
No Available Photos
52 Members Also There at Same Time
7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

Carter, Sherwood, Sr., LTC, (1942-1967) IN 1542 Lieutenant Colonel
Dupere, Raymond J., MAJ, (1943-1963) IN 1542 Major
Burns, Hugh, LTC, (1945-1969) IN 1542 Captain
Francoeur, Paul, CPT, (1955-1975) IN 1542 Captain
Lawley, Fred Wayne, COL, (1952-1980) IN 1542 Captain
Lutz, Joseph, MG, (1955-1990) IN 1542 Captain
Mize, Ola Lee, COL, (1950-1981) IN 1542 Captain
Pessin, Robert H., COL, (1952-1982) IN 1542 Captain
Shelton, Ralph Whitfield, MAJ, (1948-1968) IN 1542 Captain
White, Walter Scott, COL, (1960-1983) IN 1542 Captain
Disser, Michael, CPT, (1962-1975) IN 31542 Captain
Vickery, Ellison, LTC, (1958-1979) IN 11A Captain
Garner, George, LTC, (1956-1980) FA 1193 First Lieutenant
Alamo, Gabriel Ralph, MSG, (1940-1964) IN 11Z50 Master Sergeant
Finch, Theodore, SGM, (1943-1967) IN 1814 Master Sergeant
Moran, Henry, MSG, (1962-1998) SF 18Z5 Master Sergeant
Price, Robert K., SGM, (1950-1974) IN 11Z50 Master Sergeant
Hazard, Kermit Dale, MSG, (1946-1970) IN 11B20 Sergeant First Class
Kemmer, Thomas James, CSM, (1949-1977) IN 11F10 Sergeant First Class
Nobles, Daniel, SFC, (1953-1973) QM 76K10 Sergeant First Class
Shumate, Walter Lee, SGM, (1952-1982) IN 11B20 Sergeant First Class
Townsend, Chester Davis, SFC, (1951-1963) IN 1812 Sergeant First Class
Zieba, James, MAJ, (1957-1978) SC 05B10 Sergeant First Class
Adkins, Bennie G., CSM, (1956-1978) IN 11B20 Staff Sergeant
Brown, Jimmy, MSG, (1959-1975) EN 12B20 Staff Sergeant
Criess, Lewis, 1SG, (1962-1982) MI 04B Staff Sergeant
Honley, Jimmie Carrol, SSG, (1957-1966) MD 91B10 Staff Sergeant
Johnson, Verlon, MSG, (1952-1974) IN 11B20 Staff Sergeant
Mohar, Vladimir James, MSG, (1951-1975) SC 05B10 Staff Sergeant
Sosniak, Tadeusz, MSG, (1951-1968) IN 11B10 Staff Sergeant
Wilson, Burrell Andrew, Jr., MSG, (1955-1976) IN 11B10 Staff Sergeant
Bell, Sonny, SSG, (1962-1994) SC 05B4S Sergeant
Corkran Sr., Donald, CW4, (1963-1995) IN 111.1 Sergeant
Foley, David, MAJ, (1961-1985) SC 05B4S Sergeant
Klehn, David, CSM, (1961-1991) SC 05B4S Sergeant
Meacham, Paul, SGT, (1962-1965) MD 91B10 Sergeant
Williams, George W, CW4, (1960-1991) SC 05B10 Sergeant
Wright, James, LTC, (1960-1987) EN 12B10 Sergeant
Zieba, James, MAJ, (1957-1978) SC 05B10 Sergeant
Zieba, James, MAJ, (1957-1978) SC 05B10 Sergeant
White, Jim, SP 5, (1964-1967) SC 31E10 Specialist 5
Butcher, Douglas L, SFC, (1963-1980) MI 05C10 Specialist 4
Daniels, Charles H., MSG, (1962-1982) MI 05D20 Specialist 4
Strahan, Jimmy, 1SG, (1958-1981) EN 12B10 Specialist 4
Spitler, Larry, SSG, (1961-1968) SC 05H2D Private First Class
James, Richard, SSG, (1962-1968) EN 12B10 Private First Class
Powers, Jack, Sgt, (1964-1966) SC 05B4S Sergeant
DeSoto, William, SGM, (1943-1969) Master Sergeant
Lopez, Manuel Torres, SFC, (1945-1968) Sergeant First Class
Ramirez, Miguel Rogelio, SGM, (1950-1971) Staff Sergeant
Wagner, Dan, SFC, (1955-1967) Staff Sergeant
Sydnor, Elliot P., COL, (1945-1981) Major
Welsh, Thomas H., SFC, (1948-1966) Sergeant First Class
Willey, Alden Bertram, SFC, (1952-1966) Sergeant First Class

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