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Col. William R. Thompson

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Information about Col. William R. Thompson

Profile image of Col. William R. Thompson

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Tuskegee Airman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Red
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Las Vegas, Nevada
Favorite Quote:
Give me the money.

Birthplace

Born:
1/26/1916
Birth Location:
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Tuskegee Airman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Red
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Las Vegas, Nevada
Favorite Quote:
Give me the money.

Birthplace

Born:
1/26/1916
Birth Location:
Pittsburgh
See how Col. William R. Thompson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Born on January 26, 1916, Lieutenant Colonel William R. Thompson was born in the Wiley Avenue section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of a prosperous caterer. His mother died when he was fourteen days old.

Thompson received his B.S. in business administration from Hampton University in Virginia. During his senior year, he became a licensed pilot and entered the service in 1940 as one of the first African American aviation cadets admitted to the U.S. Army Air Corps. These cadets were later known as members of the 99th Squadron of the Tuskegee Airmen. As part of the 99th Squadron, Thompson served as an armament officer under the guidance of Benjamin Davis. He also served as unofficial photographer for the 99th Squadron and parts of his collection now reside in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

After Thompson returned from the war he moved to Chicago and worked for Johnson Publication in the promotions department. Thompson passed away on Saturday, April 15, 2006 at the age of 90.

See how Col. William R. Thompson is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - William Thompson shares a joke about the Tuskegee Airmen and enemy radio propaganda in WWII
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Thompson tells about pilot training programs at black schools before World War Two
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Thompson talks about his name and early flyers he admired
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Thompson states his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Thompson remembers his father, an entrepreneur in Pittsburgh
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Thompson recalls a story that NC Mutual Insurance was stared in his uncle Charlie's barbershop
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Thompson talks about how his father came to Pittsburgh and remembers an aunt in Durham, N.C.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Thompson recalls his father's expanding business in Pittsburgh
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Thompson discusses his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Thompson comments on his childhood in Pittsburgh
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Thompson recalls growing up in Pittsburgh's university area with academic boarders in his family's rooming house
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Thompson describes his personality and interests as a youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Thompson remembers "wrestling" with a bear at the circus as a boy
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Thompson explains how Lindbergh's Atlantic flight inspired him in his pursuit of aviation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Thompson remembers discrimination when trying to join the Army Air Corps after high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Thompson recalls his college years at Hampton University and Lincoln University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Thompson talks about his surprise at the quality of Southern-educated students at Hampton
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Thompson reflects on his experiences at Hampton University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Thompson praises Hampton University's aviation and engineering programs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Thompson talks about being an aviation cadet during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Thompson remembers the 99th Fighter Squadron being sent to North Africa
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Thompson talks about the treatment of their squadron during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Thompson recalls Tuskegee airman pilot Jack Rogers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Thompson tells a story about racial discrimination in the military
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Thompson explains the different African American squadrons in World War Two
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Thompson talks about the importance of the Tuskegee Airmen in U.S. history
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Thompson remembers Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Thompson recalls Tuskegee airmen Hannibal Cox and Lee Archer and black Spanish Civil War ace Jimmy Peck
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Thompson talks about Tuskegee Airmen commander George S. 'Spanky' Roberts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Thompson discusses his wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Thompson details his postwar move to Chicago and promotional work for 'Ebony' magazine
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Thompson talks about his sons
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Thompson gives examples of his family's successful socio-economic status
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Thompson discusses the Air and Space Museum's Tuskegee Airmen exhibit with photos he shot as unofficial archivist of the group
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Thompson talks about people's continued recognition of him as a Tuskegee Airmen
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Thompson expresses concern about the image of theTuskegee Airmen organization
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Thompson calls for individual mentoring and advises youth who want a military career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Thompson hopes for more voting from the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William Thompson advocates some form of national service for all youth
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - William Thompson comments on his personal legacy