On March 16, 1968, Thompson was given an order that he would never forget. Along with the other men who made up his helicopter crew, gunner Larry Colburn and chief Glenn Andreotta, Thompson was to back up Task Force Barker in a search and destroy mission at a village in South Vietnam.
On the ground, the soldiers of the 23rd Infantry Division’s Charlie Company were struggling to survive in their harsh surroundings. Indeed, over the course of three months, they had lost more than 40 men. So when intelligence suggested that the village of Songmy was a stronghold of Viet Cong troops, they intended to wipe out the enemy for good.