Retired Army Major Earl L. Thieme, 94, of Fayetteville, a veteran army officer with a passion for his country, his family, and friends, passed away Friday August 21, 2020 at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.
He enlisted in the Army in 1945 and became a commissioned infantry officer in 1952. He served 23 years in the army of which 15 years was in Special Forces Units and 8 years in the 11th Airborne Division and 82nd Airborne Division. He was one of the original members of the Special Forces when they were activated in 1952.
He was a Veteran of WWII where he served on occupation duty in Japan, the Korean War where he served as a Special Forces Officer with the partisan forces and in Vietnam as a Special Forces detachment commander. He was the recipient of numerous military awards from the US, Korea, and Vietnamese governments.
Following his retirement in 1967, he worked for the Department of State with the USAID program in Vietnam for 7 years in the Rural Development Program. When Vietnam fell to the communist forces in 1975, he was one of the last Americans to leave. He was awarded the Department of State Meritorious Honor Award for his actions during the evacuation of US and Vietnamese citizens from the highlands in Vietnam.
Following his second retirement in 1975 he moved with his family to Fayetteville where he was a partner in The Trophy House till 1988. In 1989 he went to work for a US State Department government contractor with an assignment in Pakistan. While in Pakistan he worked with a program supporting the Afghanistan government in their war against the Russians and after the Russians withdrew he worked on projects sending humanitarian and reconstruction supplies to Afghanistan. He completed this assignment in 1994 at which time he and his family returned to Fayetteville, NC in 1994 where he and his family have since resided.
Mr. Thieme was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Betty Bailey and Roberta Pittman.
Mr. Thieme is survived by his loving wife of 57 years Beate E. Thieme of the home. Also his son and daughter-in-law Lyle and Nicole of Wilmington, his son, daughter-in-law, and 2 granddaughters Ian and Heather, Isabelle and Lauren of Fayetteville, a daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons, Eva and Mickey, Matthew and wife Summer and Tyler of Fayetteville and his sister, Henrietta Licklider of Gerald, Missouri.
A committal service will be held Monday August 31, 2020 at Sandhills State Veteran Cemetery at 2PM with military honors.
Online condolences may be made at www.jerniganwarren.com
Services are entrusted to Jernigan-Warren Funeral Home, 545 Ramsey Street Fayetteville, NC 28301.
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