John H. Thompson Jr.

  • Captain
  • Vietnam


John H. Thompson, Jr. was born in Memphis, Tennessee.  John graduated from Middletown High School in1963.  He was a member of the National and the Rhode Island Honor Societies.  He played football, basketball, and baseball.  In his senior year, he was the President of the Student Council, Vice-President of his Class, Captain of the football and basketball teams.  John was All-State in football, RI Athlete of the Year, and the recipient of The Providence Journal’s Honor Roll Award. He entered URI on a football scholarship, Class of 1967. John was Co-Captain of the football team and was All-Yankee Conference. He was also active in Phi Mu Delta and the Army ROTC Program. He was a member of the Kingston Rangers and participated in the 1965 Presidential Inaugural Parade.  He graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate with an Electrical Engineering degree and commissioned in the Signal Corps.

LT Thompson was first assigned to the 42nd Field Artillery Group in Giessen, Germany as the Communication Officer.  He commanded soldiers in the operation of classified communications systems. The Army Security Agency inspection team recognized LT Thompson as having the best Crypto facility in Europe. He was awarded The Meritorious Service Medal for this success.

In 1969, now, Captain Thompson was transferred to Vietnam as the Communication-Electronics System Engineer, 1st Signal Brigade, in Long Binh.  He provided communication system deployment, integration, monitoring, and modification.  He was given a contract proposal to update eleven sites.  Heavy monsoon rains had deteriorated cables that resulted loss of communication.  Captain Thompson reviewed but rejected the contract proposal; instead, he recommended that the upgrade be performed by soldiers assigned to 1st Signal Brigade. His recommendation was accepted by the Commanding General, saving the Army over two million dollars. Captain Thompson then was directed to execute his recommendation.  He received his first Bronze Star for this effort. 

Upon returning from Vietnam, Captain Thompson was posted to the Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, NJ, as the Program Control Officer.  He was recognized for the design and fabrication of equipment for the Computing Elements Program that laid the foundation for weapon control systems. 

Captain Thompson was discharged in May of 1972.  His awards included: Bronze Star w/Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Ranger Tab, among other awards.

 For the next 39 years John continued to serve our country; 15 years with the Department of the Navy and 24 years with the Boeing Company.  John developed weapon systems for fast attack submarines and surface combatants.  These systems were later used by the Army during Desert Storm.  John worked at the Naval Underwater Systems Center, in Newport, where he contributed to undersea launch of cruise missiles.  John then moved to the Naval Ship Weapon Systems Engineering Station in California, where he worked on the AEGIS Combat System. He received the AEGIS Excellence Award for outstanding performance in his efforts on the Shipboard Gridlock System for Ticonderoga-class ships.

From 1987 until 2011, John worked for Boeing in Seattle. He modernized acoustic systems on the Navy’s P3 Orion aircraft and the surveillance system on the Japanese AWACS.  As a result of 911, John was selected to the Boeing Aviation Security Team, which responded globally to improving aviation security.  In 2003, the Army requested that John become Boeing’s point man on the Army Future Combat Systems.   In 2010, John led the Boeing effort to develop requirements for the Air Force’s tankers.

John also served his community.  He coached youth athletics for 40 years.  John tutored high school students.  He was active in his church teaching Sunday School for 25 years.  In 1987, John was nominated for the President’s Volunteer Action Award.  John currently volunteers at the South County Hospital, at the Gilbert Stuart Museum, and at the Edward King House Senior Center.  He supports the URI Alumni.

John is married to Teresa, and they reside in Wakefield.  They have five children: John, James, Joseph, Matthew, and Melissa; and 8 grandchildren.