• Last modified 6433 days ago (Dec. 7, 2006)
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Thompson jumps into the record books

Harry Thompson, a 92-year-old 99th veteran from Wolfe City TX, jumped into the world's record books June 17 when he made a tandem parachute jump from a Cessna 182 and became the oldest former POW in the United States to perform this feat.

Thompson's leap took place at Greenville TX, during the annual Audie Murphy Days celebration, held in memory of the Medal of Honor recipient, who was born near Kingston TX, in 1924. Sgt. Randolph Delepena, a member of the Audie Murphy club from Fort Sill OK, pinned his own Army Airborne wings on Thompson after the jump.

Thompson was a chief warrant officer in the 99th Infantry Division and was captured during the Battle of the Bulge. In 2002, Thompson wrote a book about his WWII experiences, "Patton's Ill-Fated Raid."

Norm Bussel, who wrote a story about Thompson's jump for the American Ex-POW Service Foundation newspaper, said, "If you think this Texas ex-POW was lucky enough to be blessed with fantastic genes and has never had a sick day in his life — hold on just a minute. Harry is afflicted with the same POW generated illnesses most suffer from. He has had artery problems; two strokes in 1969; a heart attack in 1995; bleeding ulcers; frozen feet; and many of the other residual health complications that plague POWs."

As for Harry, he plans to jump again when he's 93.