From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Macdonald Thompson '37

Date of birth: December 13, 1914

Date of death: September 21, 1944

Age: 29

Lucky Bag

From the 1937 Lucky Bag:


MacDonald was lost when his Grumman TBF Avenger crashed while operating from USS Hancock (CV 19) on September 21, 1944 in the vicinity of Hawaii. He was commanding officer of Torpedo Squadron (VT) 7.

His wife was listed as next of kin. He has a memory marker in Washington.


MacDonald reported to NAS Pensacola for flight training on June 30, 1939 as an Ensign. He was promoted to LTJG on June 3, 1940; on July 22, 1940 he was designated naval aviator #6563. He was promoted to LT on January 2, 1942. On October 25, 1942 he was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT) 10, aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6). A few weeks later, on November 15, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross while flying from Marine Corps Air Base Guadalcanal. He was promoted to LCDR on July 1, 1943; he became commanding officer of Torpedo Squadron (VT) 7 on July 3, 1944, operating from USS Hancock (CV 19). The squadron was reassigned to NAS Kahului on September 1, 1944. (Information from Richard Leonard, naval aviation historian.)

From USS Saratoga Museum:

Our father Lt. Commander MacDonald Thompson a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy 1937 served on the U.S.S. Idaho BB-42; U.S.S. Saratoga CV-3; U.S.S. Enterprise CV-6 and U.S.S. Hancock CV-19. He was a Naval Pilot who flew the Avenger Torpedo planes ( TBF & TBM ) in VT-3; VT-10 and VT-7. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross; The Presidential Commendation; The Navy Commendation Medal and others. He was killed in his plane on September 21, 1944 while serving his country! Don & Bill Thompson, Garden Grove, California USA - Saturday, December 29, 2007 at 8:32 PM.

MacDonald is mentioned several times in the book Pacific Air by David Sears.

1937 Thompson 1.jpg

From USS Idaho Photo Album:

MacDonald Thompson graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1937. While there at the Naval Academy he was on the boxing team. Upon graduation he was stationed on the USS Idaho BB-42. He then went on to the aircraft carriers in 1940. He flew the TBD-TBF-TBM Avengers in VT-3; VT-7 and in the Buzzard Brigade VT-10. His service was on the USS Saratoga CV-3 out of N.A.S. North Island in San Diego, California. Then he served on the U.S.S. Hancock and the U.S.S. Enterprise CV-6. He was indeed an officer and a gentleman!

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant MacDonald Thompson, United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as leader of a division of Torpedo Planes attached to a United States Aircraft Carrier during an engagement with Japanese naval forces off Guadalcanal on 13 to 15 November 1942. Lieutenant Thompson launched a devastating attack against a Japanese battleship of the KONGO class, in spite of heavy anti-aircraft fire and an umbrella of enemy fighters. He and his comrades scored three torpedo hits, stopping the enemy vessel and preventing her from shelling the aircraft installations on Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, thereby contributing in great part to the outstanding success of this engagement. Lieutenant Thompson then took part in repeated attacks on major enemy forces.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 316 (July 1943)
Action Date: November 13 - 15, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Torpedo Squadron

Another brief account of this action is here.

Class of 1937

Macdonald is one of 45 members of the Class of 1937 on Virtual Memorial Hall.