Col. (Ret) Milton Roy Thompson
August 20, 1922 – August 23, 2018
Milton Roy Thompson of Bryan passed away at home on August 23, 2018. A visitation will be held beginning at 1:30, followed by the funeral service at 2:30 pm, on Sunday, September 2, 2018, at First Presbyterian Church, 1111 Carter Creek Parkway, Bryan. Interment will be at the Dallas – Fort Worth National Veterans Cemetery. Services are in the care of Callaway-Jones Funeral and Cremation Centers, Bryan-College Station.
He was born August 20, 1922 in Dallas, Texas. His parents were Walton Eiland Thompson and Helen Whitaker Thompson. Milton was an Honor graduate of Dallas Technical High School where he was a member of the Crack Drill Team of ’38-39 and area-wide High School Champions of ROTC. He attended Texas A&M and enrolled in ROTC: he served in A Company Engineers from ‘39-41 and E Company Infantry ‘42-43. He was called to active duty in March ‘43 as a Private and then waited four months at Ft. Sam Houston for orders to Officer Candidate School.
Milton attended OCS at Ft. Benning, GA Aug-Nov ’43 and graduated as 2Lt. He took a 4-month Officer Motor Course then on to Ft. McClennan, AL Infantry Replacement Center where he served as rifle instructor, M1 and carbine, and 81mm mortar instructor. Next he went to Ft. Riley, KS in Dec ’44 to take the Officer Pack (Mule) course for three months, then waited for orders to Burma. His orders were cancelled and he was transferred to the 1st Calvary Division in the Philippines as platoon leader in A Troop, 5th Calvary Regiment. They began preparing for the invasion of Japan and practiced repeated amphibious landings on Luzon. Orders for the invasion were cancelled after two atomic bombs were dropped and the Japanese agreed to surrender. Milton watched the surrender on September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missoula from 1,000 yards while several hundred B-29 bombers circled overhead. That afternoon the 1st Cavalry Division landed on Yokohama Beach to begin occupation duty which included command guard of Italian and German embassy staffs at Gorha Hotel in Gorha, Japan.
During the occupation and at the 5th Cavalry Regiment 1946 New Year’s Eve party, Milton met Mary Ann Cheever of Mattoon, IL, a civilian information specialist at 8th Army Hq in Yokohama. After a 5-month whirlwind courtship beginning Jan ’47, they were married on May 17 by Cpt McGee, regimental chaplain. Milton later became commander of F Troop, 5th Cavalry Regiment. In May ’48 Milton and Mary Ann moved to Ft. Lewis, WA where he was part of 717th Heavy Tank Battalion, which soon became the 72nd Tank Battalion. Their first child, Curtis Stephen, was born during that tour.
The 72nd Tank Battalion went to Korea and arrived in Pusan Aug ’50. Less than 24 hours in country, in a battle south of Naktong River, his battalion suffered killed-in-action casualties. Milton returned to the US in Aug ’51 and attended the Army Officer Advanced Course at Ft. Knox, KY. During this tour, their second child, Barbara Ellen, was born.
In June ’52, the Thompson family moved to Ft. Harrison, IN where Milton was an advisor to the Reserves of the 5th Army Area. In Jan ’54 Milton took a leave of absence without pay to complete his last semester at Texas A&M and graduate with a BS in Architecture. Before the semester was over, their third child, Karen Leslie, was delivered at Bryan Air Base.
Soon after receiving his degree, Milton and family departed for Athens, Greece aboard a US Navy ship. Milton was assigned to the Joint US Military Assistance Advisory Group-Greece (JUSMAAG-Greece). He was the Armor advisor to the Greek army for three years. After leaving Greece, he attended the US Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. He went back to Ft. Knox in ‘58 to the Armor Combat Development Group where one of the projects was the US Army Aviation Drone. After the 3-yr Ft. Knox tour, he attended the Army Comptrollership School at Syracuse University where he received an MBA and a BS in Accounting in ’62 which prepared him for his next assignment to the office of Comptroller of the Army at the Pentagon through the summer of ’65. Following the Pentagon he spent one year in Saigon, Viet Nam as Chief J-14, part of J-1. He was assigned to Ft. Knox for the third time in ’66 where he assumed command of the 4th Tank Battalion, and then was Deputy Commander of the 1st Training Brigade.
In July ’68 Milton began a 4-yr tour at Ft. Amador, Panama Canal Zone as the US Army South Comptroller which entailed numerous inspection trips throughout Central and South America. In ’72 he returned to the US to Ft. Rucker, AL as Comptroller of the US Army Aviation Center and School, home to 500 helicopters and 200 fixed wing aircraft.
Milton retired in Jan ’74 with the rank of Colonel after 31 years of service, but stayed in Ft. Rucker to teach management and accounting courses at Troy University. Milton and Mary Ann moved to Memorial Forest in Bryan, TX to begin a second career at Texas A&M University System headquarters. He retired as Director of Investments after serving his alma mater for 14 years. In ‘88 he entered full retirement but continued to be active: President of Brazos Valley Republican Chapter, Life member of the NRA, member of the Military Officers Association of America, and member and officer of Briarcrest Country Club. Milton and Mary Ann were members of the First Presbyterian Church for over 25 years where Milton held several positions including deacon, elder and chairman of the finance committee. Milton and Mary Ann traveled extensively with dear friends Col (Ret) Stewart and Barbara Shirey to England, Scotland, Portugal, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and the Maritime Provinces of Canada. One of his many pleasures of retirement was attending A&M football games with friends and family.
On Memorial Day 2015 Milton and Mary Ann moved to Arbor Oaks at Crestview Retirement Community where they lived in a delightful apartment overlooking a pool, with superb dining and many activities, not to mention wonderful relationships with the residents.
Milton was an honorable man who led by example and taught what it meant to have courage, integrity, accountability and perseverance. Whenever a problem arose, be it in his career or in his personal life, he would tackle it and find a solution. He lived life to the fullest and thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of colleagues and neighbors by inviting them into his home for meals, conversations, and on many occasions’ games of charades, bridge or dominoes. Milton loved all kinds of music and had an extensive vinyl record collection. He was blessed with a fine baritone voice and sang in a barbershop quartet and in several church choirs throughout his Army career. It can be said that he lived his life completely.
Milton and family express gratitude to his physicians for their skill and dedication: Dr. David Hackethorn, Dr. David Scott, Dr. Pelur Patel, Dr. Charles Jordan; the rehab staff at Crestview, especially Sharon and Shirra. Milton recognized his longtime friend, Pete Poutaki of Pete’s Auto Service for his friendship and service since Pete’s early days of operation. He also wanted to thank his fellow residents of Arbor Oaks for their kindness, friendship and neighborliness, and the staff for their compassionate care and support.
His parents, and his wife of 71 years, precede him in death.
Milton is survived by his brother John. R. Thompson and wife Jackie of Dallas, TX; a son, Curtis Thompson and wife Karen of Bedford, TX; two daughters, Barbara Crump and husband Charles of the Republic of Panama; Karen Meador and husband Mark of Rockport, TX; six grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Bryan, the Former Students Association of Texas A&M, or an organization of choice.
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