Denny Thompson was born in Fargo, North Dakota on July 28, 1922. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he was working on the railroad. He knew this meant war and he was ready to serve and wanted to go. Denny joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and trained in Texas to pilot the B-17, B-24, bombers and later P-51 fighters, and was assigned to the “Mighty 8th Air Force” 487th Heavy Bomb Group out of England.
Throughout his time in the European Theater, Denny flew thirty combat missions over Germany, France, Belgium and Poland. He flew 11 missions with the B-24 nicknamed “Problem Child”. After 11 missions they exchanged the B-24s for B-17s. He flew with the same crew on both planes. On one mission they hit a German Tiger tank factory and for that he received a Distinguished Flying Cross.
He was wounded on his 27th and 30th missions where his plane had 500 bullet holes, one engine out, and damaged landing gear. He spent two weeks in the hospital and they removed about 10 pieces of shrapnel. One piece was left in his arm and is still there today.
Denny was training on the P-51 fighter when news broke out that the war was over. Denny was discharged on November 5, 1945.