Willard graduate shares experiences serving in Army

Cary Ashby • Nov 27, 2019 at 9:00 AM

WILLARD — Robert “Butch” Thompson delivered a baby when he served in the U.S. Army — but he didn’t get credit for it. Until now.

The Willard resident and 1961 graduate of Willard High School was in the Dominican Republican at the time.

“I didn’t get credit for it; I called a Jeep in to take the baby and the mother to the hospital and he took credit for delivering the baby,” said the Vietnam War-era veteran.

“They woke me up; they said they needed a medic over at this house. I went over there. She was ready to pop right then. So what I did (was) I just put my hands out and started pulling a little bit when it (the baby) was coming out. I patted it on the butt; it started crying and I cut the cord and tied it,” Thompson said.

“I told the woman (who) was there to call the medic in with the Jeep.” 

Thompson served in the Army for three years.

“Out of three years, 2 1/2 was in schooling,” he said, referring to learning the medical field and attending “jump school.”

“I was in Special Forces and I took most of my training in Special Forces. … You had to be a paratrooper to get in it.”

Thompson and his wife Patsy were with more than 180 area veterans who enjoyed a light breakfast and some fellowship before the third annual Veterans Day program at Willard City Schools.

Patsy, who graduated from WHS in 1969, said celebrating veterans is “very important” now especially because Vietnam War-era vets weren’t treated very well when they returned home.

“I think it’s a great example for the young people,” she added, referring to how vets are being respected now. “I’m very honored to be here with all the veterans.”

Until about a decade ago, her husband said he didn’t think much about being honored as a veteran. Once he retired from being a farmer and raising horses and his wife retired from the Willard school system as a secretary in various departments, he started to embrace it more.

“And then I started changing and I like it,” Butch Thompson said with a smile. “I was too busy doing other things and then since I’ve retired and my wife has retired, we go to different places.”

Thompson was asked what can young people learn from observing Veterans Day.

“The service is for the country is what they should be talking about. This day and age, you don’t know what these young kids are going to do. In other words, they wouldn’t have their freedoms if it weren’t for the veterans,” he said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Have you or someone you know served in the armed forces? Are you willing to be interviewed about your experiences? If so, call Norwalk Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby at 419-668-3771 ext. 1239, email him at [email protected] or stop by the newsroom, 61 E. Monroe St.

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