Bill Thompson is remembered for his service with OSS during WWII

By MARK ROUNTREE | Leavenworth Times, Kan. | Published: January 5, 2018

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Tribune News Service) — A former special operations veteran is being remembered for his military service.

Bill Thompson, who served in the elite Office of Strategic Services during World War II, died last week. He was 96 years old.

He had been living in hospice care at Twin Oaks Health & Rehab in Lansing.

"Bill was a genuine person, a great patriot, a great community servant," said Thompson's longtime friend, ret. Col. Roger Donlon, a recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Tyler Thompson, Bill's son, said his father served with distinction in the OSS.

"That was the precursor to Delta Force, Navy SEALs and Green Beret. OSS was the granddaddy of the special ops units," Tyler Thompson said.

Bill Thompson entered the service in the Army in June 1942. After OSS training in Washington, D.C., he deployed to Europe during the heat of World War II.

His three-man team parachuted into France in August 1944. They worked with the French resistance.

He served another year in China working with his OSS team. He was discharged in December 1945 as a master sergeant.

After the war, he earned a bachelor's degree in music at Kent State. He taught school for four years.

"Bill was at heart a musician," Donlon said. "He had a song in his heart all the time."

Thompson worked as the Chamber of Commerce manager in several cities in Texas before taking over as the top executive for the Chamber in Leavenworth in 1971.

He later served for eight years as the director of the Leavenworth chapter of the American Red Cross.

Thompson was active in several community and military organizations.

A service will be held for Thompson at noon Saturday at First Christian Church in Leavenworth. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon.

He will be laid to rest Monday at Leavenworth National Cemetery at a time to be determined.

The Thompson family requested that memorial gifts be donated to the Leavenworth chapter of the American Red Cross.

©2018 Leavenworth Times, Kan.
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