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First Name: Max

Last Name: Thompson

Birthplace: Bethel, NC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Prescott, AZ

Date of Birth: 21 July 1922

Date of Death: 30 November 1996

Rank: Technical Sergeant

Years Served:
Max Thompson

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Max Thompson

Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Technical Sergeant Max Thompson (21 July 1922 - 30 November 1996) was a U.S. Army soldier and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II.

Max Thompson was born on 21 July 1922 in the community of Bethel in Haywood County, NC. Thompson joined the Army from Prescott, AZ. On 18 October 1944, he was serving in Europe as a Sergeant in Company K, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. In a battle that day near Haaren, Germany, he single-handedly attacked the German forces several times. For his actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was one of two people from Haywood County, NC, to receive the Medal in World War II, the other being William D. Halyburton, Jr.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company K, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Haaren, Germany, 18 October 1944.

Citation: On 18 October 1944, Company K, 18th Infantry, occupying a position on a hill near Haaren, Germany, was attacked by an enemy infantry battalion supported by tanks. The assault was preceded by an artillery concentration, lasting an hour, which inflicted heavy casualties on the company. While engaged in moving wounded men to cover, Sgt. Thompson observed that the enemy had overrun the positions of the 3d Platoon. He immediately attempted to stem the enemy's advance single-handedly. He manned an abandoned machinegun and fired on the enemy until a direct hit from a hostile tank destroyed the gun. Shaken and dazed, Sgt. Thompson picked up an automatic rifle and although alone against the enemy force which was pouring into the gap in our lines, he fired burst after burst, halting the leading elements of the attack and dispersing those following. Throwing aside his automatic rifle, which had jammed, he took up a rocket gun, fired on a light tank, setting it on fire. By evening the enemy had been driven from the greater part of the captured position but still held 3 pillboxes. Sgt. Thompson's squad was assigned the task of dislodging the enemy from these emplacements. Darkness having fallen and finding that fire of his squad was ineffective from a distance, Sgt. Thompson crawled forward alone to within 20 yards of 1 of the pillboxes and fired grenades into it. The Germans holding the emplacement concentrated their fire upon him. Though wounded, he held his position fearlessly, continued his grenade fire, and finally forced the enemy to abandon the blockhouse. Sgt. Thompson's courageous leadership inspired his men and materially contributed to the clearing of the enemy from his last remaining hold on this important hill position.

He reached the rank of Technical Sergeant before leaving the Army.

After his military service, Thompson worked in Canton, NC, for Champion International Paper's inspection department.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Order of Glory, Third Class (Soviet Union)

Death and Burial

Technical Sergeant Max Thompson died on 30 November 1996 at age 74. He is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Enka, NC, in Section 9, Lot 68.

Honoree ID: 1670   Created by: MHOH




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