Item Number: OH0516 (Record 323153)
Interview with Ralph Thompson (by: Laura M. Calkins, PhD) - February 16, 2006
16 February 2006
Ralph E. Thompson Collection
Oral History (Digital)
Ralph Thompson was born in 1916 in Amite LA; at age 14 he got a job on a ship, and traveled to the Middle East as well as to the US West Coast. He joined the US Army in 1937, and was trained as a hospital ward attendant at Barksdale Field LA. He was later assigned to Randolph Air Base TX, Fot Ord CA, and Camp Stoneman CA. His unit was shipped to New Zealand, and then to New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, and Okinawa during World War II. Ralph worked as an assistant in the Theater Surgeon General's Office, and earned a battlefield commission. After the war he attended the Command & General Staff College and in 1947 joined the US Air Force Surgeon General's Office. He served two four-year tours in Germany at Wiesbaden and Ramstein, and then was posted to Hawaii, where he organized aero-medical evacuations of wounded personnel from Vietnam to hospitals in Japan and the United States. He frequently visited American medical facilities in Vietnam between 1966 and 1969, including hospitals in Siagon, Da Nang, and near Cam Ranh Bay. COL Thompson suffers from several Agent Orange-related illnesses, but remains active in his community in Fayetteville NC.
Interview with Ralph Thompson, 16 February 2006, Ralph E. Thompson Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University. Accessed 21 May. 2013. <http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/virtualarchive/items.php?item=OH0516>.