William Frank Thompson

William F. Thompson, 51, was born June 30, 1953 in Ketchikan, Alaska and passed away at home on Feb. 3, 2005 after a courageous battle against cancer.

Bill graduated from Mountlake Terrace high school in 1971. Four months before graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1975, Bill met Carol Fisher and two months after graduation they were married. Bill was sent to Webb AFB, Texas for pilot training. From there, he flew A-7s at England AFB in Louisiana. On Oct. 24th, 1977 his son Lance was born at St. Francis Cabrini Hospital in Alexandria. Two years later when Bill was flying O-2s at Wheeler AFB in Hawaii, his daughter Lindsay was born on Dec. 18th at Tripler Medical Center.

Bill’s next assignment was at Nellis AFB, Nev. flying the plane of his dreams...the beautiful F-16. From Nellis he was stationed at Osan, Korea (OV-10), and then at Misawa back in the F-16 cockpit; up north to Elmendorf, AFB Alaska where he flew a desk for four years and sharpened his computer skills. From Alaska Bill was stationed at Reese AFB, Texas as a T-38 instructor Pilot until he was sent to his last assignment at Randolph AFB, Texas where he continued to train students in the T-38.

After Bill was diagnosed with cancer in January of 2001, he switched over from a life of flying to a life of computers. In between surgeries Bill mastered the Microsoft Certification Course and became invaluable as a computer software engineer. He was as patient teaching computer programming as he was as an instructor pilot. Bill refused to let his illness hold him back from achieving his goals. He remained on active duty until his retirement on Sept. 8, 2004. He was an inspiration to all who knew him and continues to leave his mark upon our lives.

A funeral Mass was held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Selma, Texas. Bill’s ashes were laid to rest at the Air Force Academy on June 9th, 2005.

Bill leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 29 years, Carol; their son Lance and wife, Chaiki; their daughter Lindsay, husband Justin and granddaughter Annora; his mother, Dorie; sister Diane, brother Dan along with brothers-in-law Gary, Ernie, Larry, Gale; sisters-in-law Nancy, Brenda, Connie, Linda and Cheryl; and their families.

Bill was a loving husband and father, beloved son, brother and friend. We will cherish him by living our lives to the fullest, as he did.

His Family  |  February 2005

 

Photos

 
   
   
Remembrances

We first meet in the basement of the Cadet Gym, handball court number three. Undefeated CS-03 hoping to knockoff the reigning First Group champs from CS-08. If Ski and I can take this 1st doubles match we may stand a chance. We get our butt kicked...

... and there's that smile (that 'you never stood a chance' smile)...

Assignment day for UPT Class 77-01. ...Pratt, C-141; Ruth, A-7; Thompson, A-7; Wissman, F-4. "Mike, do you realize there are no two seat A-7's? Our first flight is solo!"...

...and that smile (that, 'better to be lucky than good' smile)...
Rocket Mobile Village in Alamagordo. Base housing at Davis-Monthan. Kelly is born. Neighbors of the Rapides Parish Coliseum in Alexandria. A boyfriend for Kelly, Lance is born. The babies sleep through Star Wars in Dolby Surround Sound. Pulling Susan's chain at every opportunity...

...and that smile (that, 'cat ate the canary' smile)...

The designated DACT (dissimilar air combat training) wingmen in the mud-moving 74th Flying Tigers. We didn't always know where our leaders were after a turning fight but he and I were always in mutual support at the 'knock it off'...

...and that smile (that, 'I'm there for you, buddy' smile)...

Trouble with strafe qualification. Bob Gatliff spends hours working with him. "Bullet" Bill is born...

...and that smile (that, 'they won't remember why but they will remember me' smile)...

A three ship cross country planned for low level training in the Rockies with Tim Baxter. I ground abort with a broken jet. He and Tim take all my gas at the tanker while I try to explain to the commander why they are three hours overdue in Colorado Springs and the FAA is about to send out a search party...

...and that smile (that, 'got away with a warning' smile)...

Roz gets hammered by Judge Roy (lieutenants are to be seen and not heard) Boone all the way to Korea. Every LT is dreading the redeployment lineup. He draws the short stick; I'm the wingman spare. "Don't you dare abort tomorrow" and we laugh about it. Next morning he has a hydraulic leak...

...and that smile (that 'thanks for the sacrifice' smile)...

John Loh sends us out west to pick up two scattered broken jets, now repaired. We can't fly in formation but Kat 1 and Kat 2 file to fly at the same time and place in case either should have problems...

...and that smile (that 'I've got your back' smile)...

I bust my OV-10 checkride at Patrick for some momentary lapse of concentration. He's there to provide a shoulder and a beer...

...and that smile (that 'it won't matter 20 years from now' smile)...

He and Yogi stop in at Sumter. He drives four hours to meet me at SEATAC for 45 minutes on my way to Korea. Our families meet at DisneyWorld. He's there for my Air Force retirement. Gracious host to me at Nellis, in Alaska and in San Antonio. Lindsay and Justin's wedding in Pasadena...

...and that smile (that, 'I love my family and friends' smile)...

"Michael" - a greeting instantly recognizable. Only he and my mother use my full name...

...and that smile (that 'watcha been doin' smile)...

I hear for four years of the valiant fight my friend puts up against cancer but each time I see him during that fight he is strong, confident, full of life and hope...

...and that smile (that, 'I love life" smile)...

Now he's gone. My faith assures me he is with our Lord. His suffering is ended and he wants for nothing. I will see him again in my own time. Until then I will miss him...

...and that smile.

– Mike R.   5 Feb 05


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