Edward W. Thompson Sr

  • Private
  • WW II


Edward William Thompson Sr. was born on 17 July 1918. He is the son of William and Nina Thompson. He was a 1939 graduate of Pawtucket West Senior High School, Pawtucket, Rhode Island where he was an outstanding student and member of the track team. Edward entered Rhode Island State College (RISC) in September 1939 with the class of 1943, majoring in Engineering. He was a member of Beta Phi and a member of the track team. He participated in the Army ROTC program.

William enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in July 1944 and attended Boot Training at the Recruit Depot, Marine Barracks, Parris Island, South Carolina. In October 1944, he attended Advanced Infantry Training, Infantry Training Regiment, Training Command, Fleet Marine Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Private Thompson was a member of the U.S. Marine invasion force at the Battle of Okinawa, codenamed “Operation Iceberg.” This operation consisted of a series of battles fought in the Japanese Ryukyu Islands. On 1 April 1945, the U.S. conducted the largest amphibious assault of the war. Four divisions of the U.S. 10th Army (the 7th, 27th, 77th, and 96th) and two Marine Divisions (the 1st and 6th) fought on the island, supported by naval, amphibious, and tactical air forces.

The invasion of Okinawa lasted 82-days. The battle has been referred to as the “typhoon of steel” in English, and tetsu no ame (“rain of steel”) in Japanese. The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of Japanese kamikaze attacks, and the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific, with an estimated total of over 82,000 direct casualties on both sides; over 12,500 Americans were killed or missing.

Sadly, Private Edward William Thompson Sr., U.S. Marine Corps, died of wounds on 26 April 1945. He was buried with full military honors in the 27th U.S. Army Infantry Division Cemetery, Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Private Thompson’s remains were later laid to rest at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Private Edward William Thompson Sr., U.S. Marine Corps was awarded the Purple Heart and U.S. Marine Combat Action Badge (Posthumously). Pvt. Edward W. Thompson was a son of Rhode Island State College who answered the call to service during World War II and gave his life in service to Rhode Island and America. He was another member of the “Greatest Generation”.