Short Biography of
Vietnam Veteran
1st LT Howard I. Thompson

Howard I. Thompson

~ 1st Lieutenant in the Vietnam War
~ Commander, of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 90
~ Chairman, Coffee County Veterans Association
~ Quartermaster/Adjutant Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10904

Howard Thompson was born in Manchester, TN.
His family moved to Virginia when Howard was in the 4th grade.
When Howard was in the 10th grade, his family moved back to Tennessee.

Howard was on active duty with the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968,
with 4 years of reserve duty.
He served in Vietnam from 5 July 1967 to 4 July 1968.
Thompson served as executive officer before being assigned as commander
of the 514th Engineer Detachment, Vietnam.

He served with honor and distinction before returning to Tullahoma
and starting a successful business
Thompson Jewelers.

He is the Commander of the Disabled Veterans Coffee County, Chapter 90.
He served as past Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10904,
past Senior Vice Commander of the American Legion Post 78
and is currently the Chairman of the Coffee County Veterans Association.

Thompson was raised in Manchester and attended high school
in both Tullahoma and McMinnville
before graduating from McMinnville City High in 1961.

After graduation, Thompson enrolled at MTSU,
where he majored in mathematics, minored in physics,
and enlisted in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Program.

Within a week after graduating from MTSU in 1966, he received a draft notice,
an honorable discharge from the army
and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

He was ordered to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, for basic training and was then assigned
to the Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations at the base.
His first assignment was to re-establish
a facility to train operators for the U.S. Army gas generating plants.
The unit was designated the 56th Engineer Detachment
and was part of the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Belvoir.
After it became operational, he was assigned as its first commanding officer.

In 1967, he was ordered to report to Headquarters Company, 593rd General Supply Brigade in Vietnam,
where he served as Executive Officer of this award-winning unit.
It participated in 14 campaigns in Vietnam from 1966 to 1972
as the 593rd General Supply Brigade,
earning its second Meritorious Unit Commendation
and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm.

Following this assignment, Thompson became the Commander of the 514th Engineer Detachment,
and was there during the Tet Offensive.
Officially titled the General Offensive and Uprising of TET Mau Than 1968,
it was a campaign of surprise attacks against military and civilians
as well as control centers throughout South Vietnam.
Some of the engagements the 514th were in included the counteroffensive,
Tet Counteroffensive Phase,
Sanctuary Counteroffensive and over a dozen more.

After his tour of duty ended in 1968, Thompson returned to the Middle Tennessee.
In 1969, he was ordered to a reserve unit which led to an event that changed his life.

On a reserve weekend,
he met his future wife, Patricia, and they were married on Nov. 1, 1969.
After their marriage, Thompson operated a trade shop
doing watch and jewelry repair for local jewelry stores.

In 1971, with Pat's help, $200, a used watch repair bench, a home-made jeweler's bench
and a few hand tools, they opened Thompson Jewelers in downtown Tullahoma
in the building that is now Daddy Billy's.
Howard has remained active in community
and civic organizations and many other endeavors.

He is a Grand Mason in the Masonic Lodge, Past Master of Highland Lodge 214,
and a member and staunch supporter of Al Menah Shrine,
Tullahoma Lions Club, and Shriner's Children's Hospital.

He is the President of the Tennessee Jewelers Association
and past President of Tennessee Jewelers of America.

Additionally, he has represented Tennessee in leadership conferences
in Washington DC, Scottsdale, Arizona and San Diego, California.
As an artisan, Howard designs and hand-crafts award winning fine jewelry.
He has been an award-winning sports and wildlife photographer.

Mr. Thompson has received many awards in his lifetime.
On 1 June 2019, Mr. Thompson received the TET Offensive Campaign Medal.
He was given an All-American Post Award for his work with VFW Post in Manchester.
He also won first place in Tullahoma's Annual Art Festival for photography.
As a great community ambassador, Mr. Thompson has
been asked to be the special guest speaker at many events.

Quote on Howard Thompson by Kimberly King
VFW Department of TN, Chief of Staff and VFW Post Commander:
"I believe there is no one who is more devoted to the VFW, or to veterans, than Howard Thompson.
He is always there for his fellow veterans in every way possible.
I have never known anyone, in any organization, that has given more of his time,
money and talent to an organization
in the way I have seen Howard's tireless work for the VFW and his fellow veterans."