Thayer was as a member of the 71st Infantry Division in World War II.  They deployed to the European Theater in February 1945, advancing from Alsace-Lorraine to crossing the Rhine River, then taking Coburg (April 11), Bayreuth (April 14-16), and Regensburg (April 27).   On May 4, 1945, the 71st Infantry Division liberated a corpse-littered concentration camp called Gunskirchen.  Some 15,000 prisoners were still in the camp, primarily Jews from Hungary.

   Major Military Awards and Decorations:

  • Silver Star Medal
  • Bronze Star Medal
  • Combat Infantry Badge
  • Oregon National Guard Exceptional Service Medal
  • Oregon National Guard Distinguished Service Award
  • Department of Defense Seven Seals Award
  • National Guard Association of the United States “Patrick Henry” Citation
  • Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service
  • Army Engineer Association Silver Order of the de Fleury Medal for Inspirational Leadership
  • Association of the United States Army Award for Distinguished Service
  • Oregon National Guard Commendation Medal for Outstanding Service

   Additional Career Achievements:

  • Civilian Aide to the United States Secretary of the Army
  • Director, Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission
  • Vice President, Association of the United States Army, Oregon
  • Life Member, Board of Trustees, Oregon Graduate Institute for Science and Technology
  • Member, Board of Stewards, Washington County Historical Society
  • Honorary Council, Oregon Historical Society
  • Honorary Colonel, 14th Infantry Regiment
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  • Two generations of Thayers -- the general and the KISS guitarist -- kick off fundraising for military museum