Bill Thompson is a career naval officer, with a broad range of duties afloat and ashore. Over time, he had increasingly significant assignments in public affairs, culminating in promotion to the rank of rear admiral---the first-ever public affairs specialist to be so honored. As the Navy's Chief of Information, he brought Navy public and internal affairs---which long languished in the post-World War II doldrums---to match the impact and quality of post-War Navy technology. Rear Admiral Thompson pioneered the development and installation of closed-circuit television on all Navy ships, developed a network of local offices to expand media access to the Navy beyond traditional fleet and headquarters centers, and, above all, guided senior commanders and officials of a Navy long known as "the Silent Service" through the challenging process of actually dealing with the public, in person or through media surrogates.
Following retirement from active service, he assumed the position and responsibilities of president of the newly-formed Navy Memorial Foundation, with one firm goal: to raise funds, secure a location, and coordinate design and construction for an iconic memorial in the heart of the nation's capital city. When he retired from that post, fifteen years later, he could look back at a challenging, interesting, and successful endeavor.
"Gumption"---the story of his life, his family, and of his twin careers---will be of special interest to the men and women, in uniform and civilian, who served with him along the way.