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CJS Alum, JJ Thompson '93: Lawyer, Leader, and Brigadier General of the U.S. Army-News

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During his time at Illinois State University, Jackie Thompson Jr. ’93 was an active member of the Omega Psi Phi brothers, playing soccer in his freshman year and as a member of the fullback and special teams. I got a letter. Everyone called him JJ, as his friends still do. But lately, when he was at work, he was officially known as Brig. General Jackie Thompson.

In December, after the presidential nomination and confirmation by the US Senate, it was announced that Thompson had been confirmed as brigade leader and appointed Secretary General of the Military Commission. Everything is pretty headache, but after 30 years of service, Thompson raises his rank and takes a conservative view.

“God blesses us,” he said. “The plan we may have, well, he guides us in his own direction.”

Thompson’s military awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Medal of Distinguished Service, and the Joint Achievement Award. During his career as an officer in the US Army’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, he has held numerous positions at home and abroad, including Europe and Iraq. He has a Master of Laws degree. He holds a PhD in Military Law from the Judge Advocate Generals Legal Center and School, graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in 2010, and holds a Master’s degree in Security Studies from the U.S. Army War University. increase. Thompson is a member of Bar in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Texas and is recognized for his work in the Army Criminal Appeals Court, the Army Appeals Court, the United States Federal Claims Court, and the United States Supreme Court.

Active since January 1998, 50-year-old Thompson has recorded 32 years of devoted service, including working hours in the National Guard and the Army. He was inspired by the service of his own family. His father was a Vietnamese veteran, his sister was a Navy veteran, and his grandfather who participated in the Saipan invasion was one of the first Black Sea soldiers. Thompson has lived a life of serving others.

It began in Illinois when this native of North Chicago decided to major in Criminal Forensic Science (CJS) because of the impression made in the class taught by Dr. David Falcone.

“I had a criminal justice class, and the professor was Dr. Falcone during my freshman year,” Thompson said. “His influence and his way of teaching influenced me.”

Falcone had a military background that was often discussed in class, so it went beyond the classroom. It all caught the attention of Thompson, and soon he followed in the footsteps of his professor. Thompson’s Red Bird football career lasted only one semester for financial reasons. He wasn’t a scholarship player, so it was time to go to his job when his father lost his job for over 20 years.

“I had to find a way to pay for school, so I quit football and became a Resident Assistant (RA),” Thompson said. “I also joined the Illinois National Guard who paid the tuition. It was Grit and his determination to get over me.”

As evidence, consider Thompson to participate in basic and advanced military police training in the spring of 1990. He then returned to school, but in January 1991 he was summoned to active duty due to a desert storm. quick.

“From January 1991 to August 1991, I was sent to Germany to help the desert storm and then returned to the ISU,” he said. “I still graduated early in the semester.”

After hearing another RA talk about applying for a law school preparatory program, Thompson also applied and was accepted. In the end, he chose Northern Illinois University Law School because of its affordability and proximity to his home.

“Anniversary is a day when we can remember those who gave their lives in perfect way to protect our country and the people we served with.”

Brig. General JJ Thompson ’93

As a law student, he decided to stay in the National Guard and attend an executive candidate school to advance his military career. The resulting hard work included a 16-month weekend and a summer camp. Thompson’s early legal ambition was to work for the Cook County Prosecutor’s Office with JAG Corps as a backup plan.

“We need’Plan A’and a backup,” he said. “Cook County didn’t work, so I chose a backup plan. It turned out to be the best career decision I made.”

In Illinois, his favorite hangout for socializing was Waterson’s lobby, where he loved charcoal-grilled burgers in what was then called Downtown Normal’s Sub-Conscious. The best memories are the people he met along the way.

He remembers the kindness of Rick Lewis, who is now retired from the Dean of the Student Office. He helped make him a better RA. Another favorite criminal justice professor who had a lasting influence on him was Dr. Royce Gaillon. And he made his lifelong friends in Illinois. Among them were Judge Carla Barnes, the first black woman to be appointed to the bench of the 11th Judicial Circuit, and Dana Walker, his child’s godfather and education manager for the school system in Fairfax, Virginia. included.

Most importantly, not everything went well in Thompson’s life. He has been married to his wife Kenya since 2010. They are the parents of two young children, Adicin and Mikaia, 9 and 8 years old.

On the topic of youth advice, Thompson quoted Calvin Coolidge’s favorite quote on the power of permanence. I don’t have talent. Nothing is more common than a talented and unsuccessful man. I’m not a genius. An unrewarded genius is almost a saying. I don’t educate. The world is full of educated abandonment. Only permanence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” is solved and always solves human problems. “

Adding his own philosophy to Coolridge’s philosophy, Thompson said that faith and God are important. But for everyone, he encourages them to do their best.

“Patience helps you get over, get over, and get over obstacles,” he said. “Never give up. Don’t give up.”

And as Memorial Day weekend began, Thompson shared his feelings about the importance of the holiday and what it personally means to him.

“There is a difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day,” Thompson said. “Veterans Day honors those who serve, but Anniversary is a day when we can remember those who gave their lives in perfect way to protect our country and to protect those who serve. . “