Richard E. Thompson is an internationally recognized aviation and military artist with 41 years of experience, including 32 as a designer and technical illustrator with Lockheed Martin. A graduate of the University of South Florida, Mr. Thompson joined Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (LMMFC) in Orlando, Florida (then Martin Marietta), in 1982. Among his artistic accomplishments, he has provided illustrations for authors Richard Bach and Martin Caidin and has created paintings for the late Senator Barry Goldwater and for World War II hero Jimmy Doolittle. His work has been displayed in the National Air and Space Museum, and eight originals reside in the Pentagon’s permanent art collection.
Thompson originals, along with lithographs, have been presented to high-ranking members of U.S. government such as the U.S. Secretary of Defense, U.S. Secretary of the Army, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, two U.S. Army Chiefs of Staff, the Sergeant Major of the Army, and the Commanding Generals of Ft. Gordon, Ft. Bliss, and Ft. Campbell. Mr. Thompson has participated in unveilings of his works for the Secretary of the Navy and the Under Secretary of the Air Force.
The U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) displays a large Thompson original in the rotunda of its new Command and Control Center at Ft. Campbell. Following the presentation ceremony before the 101st Division’s Commanding General and his staff, Rick was made an honorary member of that Division and a life-time member of the 101st Association.
The Honorable Sir David Manning, the United Kingdom Ambassador to the United States, received an original work for his office in Washington, D.C. The Honorable Geoffrey Hoon, UK Secretary of Defence, selected two pieces for his offices during the WAH-64 rollout ceremony at GKN Westland Helicopters, Ltd., in the UK, where the artist was signing lithographs. The UK Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, was presented with an original Thompson work to honor our UK allies.
To date, over 45 countries proudly display original works by this artist. The ministers of defense of France, Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Norway, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Israel, Denmark, Japan, Canada, and Poland have all been presented original paintings. Rick participated in the presentation of one of his originals to Sheik Mohamed of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who now has six original works.
Often referred to as a “corporate asset” and “goodwill ambassador,” Thompson has traversed the globe representing Lockheed Martin at domestic and international trade shows. He has personally signed more than 87,000 lithograph prints of his paintings for visitors to Lockheed Martin trade show booths and at other functions. These prints are highly sought after and treasured by those who have stood in long lines—some waited up to an hour and a half during the Farnborough Air Show—to have them signed.
Mr. Thompson’s passion is to honor the members of our military and their families. In addition to the scores of paintings he has produced for LMMFC and its military customers, the artist has produced several works in his personal home studio and donated them to the military as a way of personally thanking the Warfighters for their service. He carries prints of these paintings in his car to autograph and present to servicemen and women he comes into contact with during his daily travels, along with a handshake and a heart-felt thank you.
An avid military aviation buff, Rick is also a skilled aviation mechanic and restorer and a licensed commercial pilot with a classic jet fighter rating. One of Rick’s restoration projects was a vintage single-seat de Havilland DH-100 Vampire jet fighter that he returned to airworthiness and flew to air shows for 13 years. He is currently restoring a 1934 Fairchild F-24 C8-C that he acquired in Alaska which has not flown since 1955. It soon will.