LANSING, MI — When Terry Simpson and his sister started to inquire about her father’s, WWII Veteran Lee E. Simpson’s, involvement in WWII, they realized that he was more than just a service man who fought for his country and received no recognition for it.
After 60 years, Mr. Lee E. Simpson received well deserved recognition for his participation in the European-African, Middle Eastern Theater of operations during the period of June 1943 to Jan. 1946 at a ceremony recently at the Michigan Army National Guard, Headquarters Armory, 3411 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
After years of trying to get Mr. Lee E. Simpson the recognition that he deserved the day finally arrived. The family of Mr. Simpson received the Good Conduct Medal, European-African, Middle Eastern Medal with Silver Star, and Victory Medal mounted in a display case presented by Brig. Gen. Robert V. Taylor, Assistant Adjutant General, Michigan Army National Guard.
Terry Simpson stated that his father did not talk about his experiences in World War II. With the help of the Michigan National Guard some of Mr. Lee E. story is coming to light.
As many of the African American men who fought for their country during a time of racial tension and prejudicial practices, Mr. Lee E. Simpson’s medals came late. Mr. Simpson passed away on August 7, 2006.
He earned five Bronze Stars for his campaign medal by participating in the campaigns of Northern France, Ardennes, Central Europe, Rhineland, and Normandy. The five bronze stars are represented by one Silver Star on the EAME medal.
He was a member of the 3398th Quartermaster Truck Company, an all African American unit.
While attached to the 6th Armored Division during the breakout of Brittany, it was reported that the 3398th encountered over two hundred enemy troops and came under heavy bombing by eight German aircraft. Two officers and two enlisted men of this truck company teamed up to capture a pilot who parachuted from one of the three aircraft shot down. The 6th Armored Divisions’ breakout in Brittany became a textbook example of the value of armored units.
The Quartermaster Truck Companies were one of a kind units which became very integral parts of the Divisions they were attached.
When needed these men joined with the infantry/armor units and fought as riflemen, dug foxholes, and worked extremely long and hard days, with little or no training. Many of these unit members were not recognized, nor did the units receive the type of recognition that they deserved.