President Nixon Checks In

CPT Tommy Thompson, XO Det B-57, coordinates air support during Plei Me seige. 

Here is a great story related by Joe Galloway, sitting next to Thompson and Beckwith.

Tommy Thompson was handling the radios, calling in the air strikes, coordinating parachute drops of pallets of ammo and food (most of which landed out in enemy territory and not inside the camp), and dealing with various HQs. He constantly had two PRC25 handsets, one on each ear.

Suddenly, a huge grin came over his face. “Cholly (talking to Beckwith), man wants to talk to you.” “Who the *** is it?” “Cholly, man say he’s the President.” “President of WHAT, fer christsake?” Even bigger grin. “Cholly, man say he the President of the You-nited States of America.”

Beckwith grabbed the handset, which squawked and yammered loudly as Lyndon B. Johnson, President, was patched through God alone knows how many Puma and Tiger switches and began congratulating Maj. Beckwith and his valiant sojers on the fine job they were doing defending the far-flung frontiers of democracy etc, etc.,etc. Beckwith held the handset a good ten inches from his ear; we could all hear Johnson drawling on. A look of utter disgust came over Beckwith’s face.

Finally, after some grunts and “Yessirs” on the part of Beckwith, LBJ said bye and let Beckwith and Thompson get back to fighting the war.