David Dean Thompson (born February 18, 1963) is a United States Space Force general currently serving as the service's first vice chief of space operations. He previously served as the vice commander of the United States Space Force, a position he retained from the Air Force Space Command when it was established as a separate service branch, from April 2, 2018, to September 30, 2020. He assumed his current assignment on October 2, 2020.
David D. Thompson
|Born||February 18, 1963|
Ambridge, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Years of service|
1985–2020 (Air Force)
Born and raised in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, Thompson graduated in Ambridge Area High School in 1981. He got his Bachelor of Science, majoring in astronautical engineering, from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and graduated in 1985. In 1989, he received his graduate degree of Master of Science in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is also an Olmsted Scholar, graduate of the Senior Acquisition Course and a Level III-Certified Program Manager.
Thompson received his commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force from the United States Air Force Academy in 1985. He is a career space officer with assignments in operations, research and development, acquisition, and academia. He has commanded operational space units at the squadron, group, and wing levels.
A month after his commissioning, he was assigned in July 1985 to the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, California. For three years after getting his graduate degree, he was an instructor on astronautics in the U.S. Air Force Academy, assigned as the executive officer of the Department of Astronautics of the academy. From 1995 to 1998, he served at Space and Missile Systems Center as a program manager.
From July 2015 to July 2017, he served as the Air Force Space Command's then-two-star vice commander. That position was then renamed as AFSPC deputy commander in 2017 with Thompson serving as the special assistant to the AFSPC commander. In 2018, the AFSPC planned to revive the vice commander position, turning it into a position for a three-star general after Congress nixed plans on creating a deputy chief of staff for space operations position. On April 4, 2018, he then resumed his previous position as AFSPC vice commander, promoted to lieutenant general.
With the redesignation of the AFSPC as the newly created United States Space Force on December 20, 2019, Thompson retained his position as vice commander of the Space Force. In August 2020, he was nominated for transfer to the Space Force at his current rank of lieutenant general. He was also nominated for appointment to the rank of general and assignment as the first vice chief of space operations. He was confirmed by the Senate on September 30, 2020, and assumed rank following day. Thompson assumed office on October 2.
In October 2020, Thompson tested positive for COVID-19 after a family member who he was in contact with tested positive. He was asymptomatic and returned to work on November 9, 2020, after an 11-day quarantine.
|Command Space Operations Badge|
|Basic Parachutist Badge|
|Air Force Master Acquisition and Financial Management Badge|
|Basic Missile Maintenance Badge|
|Space Staff Badge|
|Air Force Distinguished Service Medal|
|Defense Superior Service Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster|
|Legion of Merit|
|Bronze Star Medal|
|Defense Meritorious Service Medal|
|Meritorious Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Air Force Commendation Medal|
|Air Force Achievement Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Air Force Meritorious Unit Award with one bronze oak leaf cluster|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Air Force Organizational Excellence Award|
|National Reconnaissance Office Distinguished Service Medal (Gold Medal)|
|National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star|
|Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal|
|Global War on Terrorism Service Medal|
|Air Force Overseas Long Tour Service Ribbon|
|Air Force Longevity Service Award with one silver and three bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon|
|Air Force Training Ribbon|
|Second lieutenant||May 29, 1985|
|First lieutenant||May 29, 1987|
|Captain||May 29, 1989|
|Major||August 1, 1996|
|Lieutenant colonel||May 1, 2000|
|Colonel||August 1, 2004|
|Brigadier general||June 18, 2010|
|Major general||October 10, 2013|
|Lieutenant general||April 4, 2018|
|General||October 1, 2020|