Simpson, William Hood “Bill”, born 18-05-1888 in Weatherford, the son of Edward J. Simpson, a rancher, and his wife Elizabeth born Hood, the daughter of Judge A. J. Hood, a prominent lawyer. His father and uncle had fought with the Confederate Army under Nathan Bedford Forrest in the American Civil War. He lived in Weatherford until he was five or six years old, when the family moved to Hood’s ranch near Aledo, Texas. He did not start school until he was eight years old, when he started riding a horse several miles each day to the local school in Aledo. He attended Hughey Turner Training School, a college-preparatory school, where he played high school football, but did not graduate. Simpson decided to pursue a military career and attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He was friends with Frederick “Fritz” Garland. Lanham, the son of Samuel Lanham, the Governor of Texas (and a former law partner of Judge Hood). Through Lanham he was able to secure an appointment from his local Congressman, Oscar William Gillespie . Competition was not fierce; only one other boy applied. As Simpson’s academic credits were insufficient to qualify for automatic admission, Simpson had to sit an entrance examination at Fort Sam Houston in May 1905. A physical examination was conducted while he was there. He passed both, and was accepted into the class of 1909
William served in the US and in the Philippines, including the Mexican Punitive 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. In mid-1940, he was appointed to command the 9th Infantry at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Before US entry into World War II, he had commanded divisions and received promotion to temporary Major General, taking 35th Division, nickname “Santa Fe” from Camp Robinson, Arkansas, to a training site in California. Casualties of 35th during the war, total, 7.296, killed in action 1.018 and wounded in action 6.278. During World War I, Battery D of the 129th Field Artillery Regiment had, as a battery commander, Captain Harry Ship Truman, later President of the United States.
Further promotions followed and in May, 1944, as a Lieutenant General, Simpson took his staff to Britain to organize the US 9th Army . This formation was activated as part of Omar “Brad” Bradley’s 12th Army Group , on September 5 at Brest, France.
Brest was liberated on September 20. The 9th Army joined the general advance and, after a month in the Ardennes the 9th 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 9th Army remained with Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s 21th Army Group for the final attack into Germany. The Ninth was the first American Army across the Elbe, on April 12 and where Field Marshal Erwin Model a commander in defeat, would commit suicide, lonely in the woods,on 21-04-1944, age 54.
The Battle of the Bulge involved about 610.000 American men, of whom some 89.000 were casualties, including 19.000 killed. It was the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the United States in World War II. During World War II, most U.S. black soldiers still served only as truck drivers and as stevedores, except for some separate tank, tank destroyer, and artillery battalions as well as in Army Air Force fighter units. In the midst of the Battle of the Bulge, General Eisenhower was severely short of replacement troops for existing military units which were totally white in composition. Consequently, he made the decision to allow African American soldiers to pick up a weapon and join the white military units to fight in combat for the first time. More than 2.000 black soldiers had volunteered to go to the front. This was an important step toward a desegregated United States military. A total of 708 African Americans were killed in combat during World War II. As part of Operation Plunder, the Rhine was crossed on 24-03-1945, north of the Ruhr industrial area and on April 19 the 9th Army made contact with Courtney Hodges US 1st Army, motto “First in Deed” , making complete encirclement of the Ruhr. On 4 April, it had reverted to Bradley’s 12th Army Group. The Ninth was the first American Army across the Elbe, on April 12. Simpson returned to the US in June, 1945. The casualties of the American forces during WWII are killed 405.399, wounded 670.846 and missed in action 30.314. Germany lost more then 7.000.000 of their population during World War II, from which 4.500.000 military deaths. Russia lost 8.700.000 soldiers and our Netherlands a total of 301.000, soldiers, resistance, population and Jewish people.
He undertook a mission to China in July and subsequently commanded the U.S Second Army at Memphis, Tennessee. He retired in November 1946 and, on 19-07-1954 he was promoted to General on the retired list by special Act of Congress.
Death and burial ground of Simpson, William Hood “Bill”.
General William H Simpson died on 15-08-1980, very old age 92 and is buried alongside his wife Ruth K, who died age 79, in 1971, on Arlington National Cemetery, Section 30.