46ºF

WWII veteran gets medals 70 years after service

OLD TAPPAN, NJ – A World War II veteran from New Jersey has his service medals. It only took 70 years.CNN

CNN affiliate, Chanel 7 Action News, went to the assisted living center where Thomas Simpson resides to share the celebration with him.

“Well, I will tell you my days in the navy with some of the best days of my life,” said Simpson.

World War II navy veteran Thomas Simpson is 92 years young.

"My skipper woke me up one morning at five o’clock and said ‘Can you make coffee?’ I said ‘yes sir.’ He said ‘you’re the cook.’”

These are the medals he earned more than 72 years ago.

The American Campaign, the Asiatic Pacific and the World War II Victory metals.

“One of the benefits of going into service is you learn discipline,” said Simpson.

He was determined to get those medals after a question from one of his grandsons.

"So, he said, ‘papa, what did you do in the war?’ I said, I’ll get my medals and I’ll show you.”

“He flew over Hiroshima,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer, (D) New Jersey.

Gottheimer made sure the metals got to the man who enlisted at 17 years old and earned them.

“I had a flag flown over the United States Capitol in honor of you and your service to our great country,” Gottheimer said to Simpson.

Well, Simpson has been quite busy with other things.

He married the love of his life, Dorothy, right after the navy, 71 years, the two of them.

He was also the River Vale Police Force Chief for 23 years.

His family, including Thomas Simpson IV, attended the small ceremony, which also included this Navy veteran, Phillip. They met here at the sunrise living facility in Old Tappan. They started swapping war stories only to discover they had been in the same boot camp class.

“We were in the same picture in the boot camp. training camp,” said Philip.

Service has been his life.

“It was an adventure. we wanted to do it," said Simpson.

Simpson’s medals include the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II victory medal.

He also now has the Honorable Reserve Discharge Button, and the Ruptured Duck Honorable Service lapel pin.