From a contemporary press report:
Charles Hubbard Thompson, 70, a retired Army Colonel who was decorated for his service with the Special Forces in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam and who taught junior ROTC classes at Parkland High School, died of cancer December 2, 2001, at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore.
He figured in the 1965 battle to save the Plei Me Special Forces camp in Pleiku Province from being overrun by two North Vietnamese regiments. He was second in command to then-Major Charles A. Beckwith, who wrote in his 1983 book with
Donald Knox, “Delta Force,” that Colonel Thompson organized and directed air strikes that helped fend off the regiments. It was the start of a month-long campaign now known as the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley. At one particularly busy point during the defense of the camp, recalled Joseph L. Galloway, who covered the battle for United Press International, Colonel Thompson answered his field radio and discovered that Lyndon B. Johnson was calling from the White House on a hookup to see how the Special Forces team was faring.
“Charlie, a man on the radio wants to talk to you,” he yelled to Beckwith.
“Who the hell is it?!” the commander barked.
“He says he's the president,” Colonel Thompson said, with a big grin on his face, Galloway recalled.
Colonel Thompson was awarded a Silver Star for his part in the battle. His other awards included the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Medal.
Colonel Thompson, who served in the infantry for much of his 30-year career, was stationed at Fort Meade when he retired from active duty in 1984. Since then, he had taught at Parkland in Riverdale. He also coached basketball and football.
Colonel Thompson, who lived in Bowie, was born in Afton, Virginia. He was a graduate of Virginia State University in Petersburg.
He was a member of Glendale Baptist Church in Landover.
His wife of 41 years, Shirley Regina Perry, died in 1995.
Survivors include his wife, Joan Ann White Thompson, whom he married last year and who lives in Bowie; two children from his first marriage, Susan Bush of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Michael Thompson of Beltsville; two stepchildren, Quincy and Derrel Hodges, both of Seat Pleasant; a brother; a sister; and six grandchildren.
THOMPSON, CHARLES H
COL US ARMY
VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 03/20/1954 – 04/30/1984
DATE OF BIRTH: 08/23/1931
DATE OF DEATH: 12/02/2001
DATE OF INTERMENT: 01/02/2002
BURIED AT: SECTION 8 SITE 10320
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard