Commander Navy

Commander Mike Thompson, U.S. Navy (retired) served on active duty for over 34 years, enlisting in

July 1969. His service spanned from the Viet Nam era thru the beginning of Operation Iraqi Liberation

when he retired from the Pentagon in September 2003. His first 10 years were spent as an Air Traffic

Controller where he was a fully Facility Rated (Journeyman, Control Tower, Radar and Non-radar

Approach Control) controller and Facility Watch Supervisor, at two major airfields; Carrier Air Traffic

Control Center (CATCC) controller and Supervisor onboard USS Saratoga (CV-60) where he was

selected at the Atlantic Fleet Air Traffic Controller of the Year. Later he was assigned as an instructor

in the Air Traffic Control Advanced Schools (CATCC Controller Course and Air Operations Officers

Course) where he earned the designation of Navy Master Training Specialist (MTS). While assigned to

the Air Traffic Control Schools, he made multiple TDY trips to the Research and Development facility at

St. Inigoes, Maryland to assist in the development and writing of both an Operators Manual and revised

CATCC Controllers course based on a new radar display system to be installed throughout the carrier

fleet as a replacement for the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS) suite. Commissioned as a Limited

Duty Officer, Ensign in 1979, he served as the Carrier Controlled Approach (CCA) Officer and Assistant

Air Operations Officer onboard USS America (CV-66). He had numerous shore tours as the Operations

Officer at Naval Air Stations, with additional professional responsibilities for Air Traffic Control

Facilities, Ground Electronics Maintenance, Structural and Airfield Crash Rescue & Firefighting, Liaison

for civilian Land Use Planning and Zoning as the Air Installation Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ)

Officer, Special Use Airspace and Range Manager, Weapons Officer, Small Arms Range Officer. He

was responsible for the establishment of the first Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) program

onboard a Naval Air Station.

Various collateral duties included: Contracting Officers Technical Representative (COTR); Non-
Appropriated Activity Funds Auditor; Ships Force Overhaul and Maintenance (SFOMS) Operations

Officer; Command Casualty Assistance Calls Officer (CACO).

Significant assignments included: Current Operations Officer for Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA)

Corpus Christi, Texas, responsible for Air Traffic Control and Ground Electronics Maintenance

operations at 5 Naval Air Stations supporting 6 Training Air Wings and including both planning

and execution of student deployments for Airborne Weapons Training and shipboard Initial Carrier

Qualification Landings onboard aircraft carriers. Executive Officer and Fleet Liaison Officer, Naval

Air Systems Command (PMA 213 headquartered at Patuxent River, Maryland) responsible for program

management and acquisition Air Traffic Control Systems, Landing Aids and Combat Identification

Systems.

From April 2001 to September 2003 he was assigned to the Chief of Naval Operations staff (Pentagon)

as Head of Airspace & Air Traffic Control (OPNAV N785F, now N887) responsible for controller and

maintenance personnel ashore, afloat and forward deployed with added responsibility for management of

both Acquisition and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) budgets for Naval and Marine Corps systems,

a component of the Department of the Navy’s, Future Year Defense Budget (FYDP).

He was a Federally Licensed Air Traffic Control Specialist (Terminal) throughout his career and earned

various personnel awards and campaign medals to include: Legion of Merit; multiple Navy Meritorious

Service/Commendation/Achievement Medals; Meritorious Unit Commendation and Navy Expeditionary

Medal.

Upon his retirement from the Navy, he returned as a Defense Department Contractor for an additional 10

years service supporting various Navy and Air Force activities both within the Pentagon and NAVAIR.

He has been married to Susan Cross of Lakeland Florida for the past 38 years; they have three adult

children and four grandchildren. The Thompson’s have recently moved to Cookeville Tennessee from

Maryland.