William Hood Simpson

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William Hood Simpson
Simpson on the cover of Life (March 12, 1945)
Born (1888-05-18)May 18, 1888
Weatherford, Texas
Died August 15, 1980(1980-08-15) (aged 92)
San Antonio, Texas
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1909–1946
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held Fourth United States Army
XII Corps
Ninth United States Army
Second United States Army
30th Infantry Division
35th Infantry Division

Moro Rebellion
Mexican Expedition
World War I

World War II

Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Légion d'honneur (France)
Croix de guerre (France)

General William Hood Simpson KBE (May 18, 1888 – August 15, 1980) was a distinguished U.S. Army officer who is most notable for commanding the Ninth United States Army in northern Europe during World War II.

Life and career[edit]

William Simpson was born May 18, 1888, at Weatherford, Texas.

After graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1909, he was commissioned into the infantry. Before U.S. involvement in World War I, Simpson served in the U.S. and in the Philippines, including the Pancho Villa Expedition, in 1916.

He was promoted to Captain in May 1917 and served with the 33rd Division throughout World War I, receiving temporary promotions to Major and Lieutenant Colonel and becoming divisional Chief-of-Staff.

In the inter-war years, 1919–1941, Simpson filled staff appointments and attended military schools, both as student and as instructor. From 1932 to 1936, he served as the Professor of Military Science at Pomona College in Claremont, California. From April to September 1941 he was the first commander of the country's largest Infantry Replacement Training Center, Camp Wolters, locate in Mineral Wells, Texas.

In mid-1940, he was appointed to command the Ninth Infantry at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Before U.S. entry into World War II, he had commanded divisions and received a promotion to temporary Major-General, taking the 35th Division from Camp Robinson, Arkansas, to a training site in California.

General Simpson (seated far left) with Army and AAF commanders in SHAEF (1945)

Further promotions followed and in May 1944, as a Lieutenant General, Simpson took his staff to Britain to organize the Ninth United States Army. This formation was activated as part of Omar Bradley's Twelfth United States Army Group, on September 5 at Brest, France. Brest was liberated September 20, 1944.

The Ninth Army joined the general advance and, after a month in the Ardennes the Ninth was moved further north. In November 1944 it broke through the Siegfried Line and advanced, in some of the heaviest fighting of the war, to the Roer River. At this point the advance stalled, due to the threat posed by dams upstream.

After the Battle of the Bulge, the Ninth Army remained with Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's 21st Army Group for the final attack into Germany.

As part of Operation Plunder, the Rhine was crossed on March 24, 1945, north of the Ruhr industrial area and on April 19 the Ninth Army made contact with Courtney Hodges' First United States Army, making a complete encirclement of the Ruhr. On April 4, it had reverted to Bradley's 12th Army Group.

The Ninth was the first American Army across the Elbe, on April 12, 1945.

Simpson returned to the U.S. in June 1945.

He next undertook a mission to China in July and subsequently commanded the Second United States Army at Memphis, Tennessee.

He retired in November 1946 and on July 19, 1954, he was promoted to General on the retired list by special Act of Congress (Public Law 83-508).

General William Hood Simpson died at his longtime residence, The Menger Hotel, in downtown San Antonio, Texas, on Friday, August 15, 1980, and was later buried alongside his wife in Arlington National Cemetery.

Military decorations[edit]

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Silver Star
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit
Philippine Campaign Medal ribbon.svg Philippine Campaign Medal
Mexican Service Medal ribbon.svg Mexican Service Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
World War I Victory Medal with two battle clasps
Army of Occupation of Germany ribbon.svg Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
American Defense Service ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze service stars
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg
Légion d'honneur (Knight) (France)
Ruban de la croix de guerre 1939-1945.PNG Croix de guerre 1939–1945 (France)
Order BritEmp rib.png Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (United Kingdom)

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Heinrich Himmler
Cover of Time Magazine
February 19, 1945
Succeeded by
Chester Nimitz