Ripcord Association

Daniel Thompson, HHC/2-506

          Dan hails from Massachusetts from a background of “HARDCORE” military history. His father served as a marine in World War II, so Dan always knew he would end up serving in the military when he grew up. In 1969 he graduated from Quincy High School in Quincy, Mass. and soon volunteered for the draft. Surprisingly, even with the military background of his father and family, his parents wanted to keep him out of Vietnam as the “sole surviving son”. Dan had other ideas. 
         He served his basic training in Fort Jackson then went to Fort Benning and was assigned to Fort Bragg with the 82nd Airborne. 
         By 1970 he had decided to sign up for a levy to Vietnam and arrived in country in April 1970. After in-country training he was initially assigned to E, 2-506. After a few days they decided they had enough people and he was re-assigned to work radios on Ripcord. Here he enjoyed the lovely ambiance of the sun drenched hill, wonderful specially prepared meals, balmy hill top breezes, mellow booming of the 105’s, 155’s and 81mm mortars and the attention bestowed upon him by the NVA mortar men. He received his first wound on 18 July while helping Major Tanner get the injured off the CH-47 that fell into the ammo dump. When asked about a Purple Heart, he passed up on it since he didn’t feel he deserved one unless it happened while he was directly fighting the NVA. 
              Working with the Commo Unit he flew out to various LZ’s to repair or replace radios for the line units as needed. On one occasion he got to a LZ, moved to the edge, dropped his rucksack and rifle as he tended to a nearby radio. As his back turned to the ruck a mortar round hit and took
 out his ruck and rifle. All in all a good day for Dan. Dan continued to serve on Ripcord and was evacuated with all the others on 23 July.
             After Ripcord he spent a short time driving for Chaplain Fox and later helped Lt. McCall as they worked with villages in the intelligence unit. He later found himself in Quantri at the Special forces Camp and for a while also worked with Lt. Doyal. At one point his job included escorting prisoners with drug problems down to the prison at Phu Bai. One prisoner asked what Dan would do if he tried to run off. Dan merely mentioned he did not believe the soldier could out run his .45. No more questions were asked and no one ran off.
               Upon returning to the states Dan went to a reserve unit and served until 1975 when he was finally discharged. He married in 1973, had two boys and two girls and divorced in 1989. In 1994 he retired after working for a lumber company for a number of years and running his own computer business till retirement. Dan now lives in Weymouth, Massachusetts where he spends his time working with the disabled and Purple Heart recipients