By Bonnie Culverhouse
Every morning, Col. Carl Thompson rises before the sun and spends an hour and a half in prayer with his Lord.
“I guess I’m starting off my day right,” he said.
He is humble, and the word “retirement” is not in his vocabulary.
Recently, Col. Thompson was honored with the Louisiana Legion of Merit, a high honor with the Louisiana State Guard.
He enlisted in U.S. Air Force Reserve in June 1965. He retired as State Forester in 1994, then he retired from Louisiana Army National Guard in February 2001.
Every time he has retired from one position, another door opens. He served in the Louisiana State Guard from February 2001 until July 2021 as Commander, 5th Area Command. He was promoted to the position of Deputy Commander at that time.
“The governor is our Commander in Chief,” Col. Thompson explained about the Louisiana State Guard. “When I was in Louisiana National Guard, the President was my Commander in Chief.”
Many people may not know the State Guard exists, he said. It was created in 1942 by a revised statute, and it is totally volunteer-driven.
“All states were authorized to form this Guard, but not all did,” he said. “Of the Area Commands, the 5th Area is the only one still active (in Louisiana).”
It’s grown from five members to around 30. They activate to aid the Louisiana National Guard and to support Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
During his retirement, Col. Thompson works for Denise Edwards, Webster Parish Assessor. He was hired by her predecessor Morris Guin. He attends every community meeting possible, representing her office.
“He’s my voice when I can’t be there,” Edwards said. “I’m so glad to have him.”
Col. Thompson has been married to Diane Cramer 36 years. They grew up only three miles apart in Claiborne Parish, and Thompson remembers when she was born. They have two daughters and three grandsons.
He’s a Godly man; a family man; a patriot and volunteer. Something else Col. Thompson would like you to know: “I’m no hero. I was given the opportunity to serve this nation and serve with the greatest, most dedicated and patriotic men and women who are citizens of this nation.
“I initially joined the Air Force with the intention of serving my four years and then getting out, but I discovered that I valued and enjoyed being in the company of soldiers who are America’s heroes,” Col. Thompson said. “I valued and enjoyed the military culture, camaraderie, the structure, the discipline and the life-long friendships that are cherished forever.
“That’s why I continued in the Air Force and the Air Force Reserve and the Louisiana Army National Guard for almost 36 years,” he continued. “And it’s the reason I continue to serve our Great Christian Nation and State of Louisiana in the Louisiana State Guard.”
Photo: Col. Carl Thompson (left) and Col. Gene Barattini receive awards at the 165th Combat Service Battalion headquarters in Bossier City. Thompson and Barattini are being transferred from the 5th Area Command to Headquarters Louisiana State Guard. Barattini will serve as the Chief of Staff with Thompson in the Headquarters Louisiana State Guard.
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