Eber Eugene Simpson

European Theater

Highest rank achieved: Capt.

Born:

Honors: Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 18 clusters. Distinguished Unit Citation Badge, awarded the group for effective cover to ground troops at a critical time to the Normandy Campaign.

He was a P-47 pilot with the Ninth Air Force and flew 102 missions.

The below information was taken from the web site http://www.chippewavalleyww2.org/Veterans/S/Si/SimpsonEberE/SimpsonEberE.htm

From an Eau Claire (Wisc.) newspaper during the War:

Gets Nazi Truck, Tank in Strafing Raid over France

LT. EBER SIMPSON
AN ADVANCED NINTH AIR FORCE FIGHTER BASE, France—Flying wing position to a flight leader who left little to strafe or bomb, First Lieutenant Eber E. (Suitcase) Simpson succeeded in blowing up a German tank and a truck southeast of Fleurs.

Coming in on his target, Lieutenant Simpson poured 50 caliber bullets into the open hatch of a tank, which exploded, tearing out sides, just as he skimmed its top.

“It is just lucky for me nothing blew out the hatch,” was his summarizing comment.

The Thunderbolt pilots of Lieutenant Colonel Harold N. Holt’s Hun Hunter Group had circled around, “getting the feel of the target,” before they dived in, strafing. “Captain McGuire, my leader, has a habit of pulling just over the target, so I go in on the deck. Usually there’s not much left for me when he gets through,” Lieutenant Simpson explained, as he described the action near the exploded tank. He added, he was flying five to ten feet above the ground when the tank exploded.

Lieutenant Simpson, wearer of the Air Medal and two clusters, a graduate of West Point Military Academy, where the above picture was taken, is the son of Colonel and Mrs. George L. Simpson, Whitehaven, Memphis, TN, formerly of this city.

In sports circles, he is known as “Suitcase” Simpson. At West Point he lettered in the Penn Relays in track and placed third in the high hurdles in 1943. While stationed at Baton Rouge, LA, he was selected to play on the All-Star Basketball Team which went to the finals at New Orleans. The team participated in the nationals at Denver in 1943. Lieutenant Simpson was rated an All-Southern Basketball Player.

Before he entered West Point, he was a student of, and was graduated from, Eau Claire Senior High School.

As a Thunderbolt Fighter-Bomber Pilot, Lieutenant Simpson flies with the Arbo Oboe Squadron of the Holt Hun Hunter Group of the Ninth Air Force. The group was commended by Lieutenant General Lewis H. Brereton, then Commanding General of the Ninth Air Force, and by Lieutenant General Omar N. Bradley, Commanding General of the First Army, for its D-Day and subsequent ground support.

 

From an Eau Claire (Wisc.) newspaper during the War:

Shell Fragments Rip Wing of Capt. Simpson’s Plane
A NINTH AIR FORCE FIGHTER BASE, Belgium

Simpson “thinks” it was an 88-millimeter shell which caught him as he pulled off a target. Whatever it was, it tore out enough of his left wing to “make me think of bellying in behind German lines,” he said.

“Fragments severed my trim tab cable and knocked out a section from my left wing and about half my left flap, which made it difficult to control the plane. I just thought of setting down before I reached American lines. Actually, I did not push open my canopy,” Captain Simpson declared.

It was the second time that the Eau Claire P-47 Thunderbolt Fighter-Bomber Pilot has been forced to a belly-land because of damage received from German anti-aircraft guns in the shrinking Ardennes Forest Bulge.

Captain Simpson is the son of Colonel and Mrs. George L. Simpson, 4100 North Third Road, Arlington, VA and is Operations Officer of his squadron.

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Nicknamed “Suitcase” Simpson for his hurdling style, he was an Army test pilot after the war in 1946. That September, he had a few days leave and decided to fly ho me to Eau Claire.

He and four other soldiers were aboard an Army plane when it took off from Godman Airfield in Fort Knox, KY. Witnesses said the plane barely got off the ground when it crashed into a forest and exploded.

Eber Simpson, 24, was buried in Eau Claire.

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