SMSgt James M. Thompson is the military Deputy Fire Chief assigned to the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron's Fire Emergency Services Flight, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida and is retiring after 28 years of combined Active and Reserve Duty. Sergeant Thompson grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia graduating high school in June of 1986. After high school he worked as a weld er at the Newport News Ship Building and Dry Dock Company before enlist ing in the United States Air Force on November 15, 1988. He attended Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Upon graduation, he attended the Fire Protection Specialist course at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois, graduating in March of 1989. His first assignment brought him here to MacDill Air Force Base as a member of the 56th Civil Engineering Squadron. While assigned to the 56th Tactical Training Wing, he deployed to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and attached to the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm/Hope. Following Hurricane Andrew, Sergeant Thompson deployed to Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, in order to provide humanitarian support after the CAT 5 storm destroyed the base. In November 1992, Sergeant Thompson was honorably discharged from active duty and placed in the Ready Reserves.
Then after one year he reentered military service as a Reservist assigned to the 325thCivil Engineer Squadron, Fire Protection Flight, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida and attached to the 56th Civil Engineering Squadron. In 1995 Sergeant Thompson transferred to the 20th Civil Engineering Squadron, Fire Protection Flight, Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter, South Carolina while still being attached to the 56th Civil Engineering Squadron. His last reassignment occurred in 2001 when
he transferred to the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron, Fire Protection Flight, where he was mobilized for both Iraqi and Enduring Freedom Operations.
Sergeant Thompson has garnered many decorations while serving his nation to include: the Meritorious Service Medal; Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with six oak leaf clusters; the National Defense Service Medal; the Southwest Asia Service Medal with a three star device; the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal; Kuwait Liberation Medal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Kuwait Liberation Medal Government of Kuwait; and the Outstanding Unit Award with four oak leaf clusters.
SMSgt Thompson is currently employed by the Lakeland Fire Department where he is a Lieutenant assigned to the Heavy Rescue at Lakeland Linder Airport. Sergeant Thompson has been married for 25 years to Suzanne Thompson and they have two sons Michael and Kevin.
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