On Jan. 1, 1945, Joe Simpson arrived in Le Havre, France, just months after being drafted into the U.S. Army, and was sent to fight in the Battle of the Bulge.
At 94 years old, Simpson paid a visit to Paschal High School yesterday afternoon to speak on the hardships he faced during his military enlistment.
Simpson was greeted by the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) traditional presentation of the flags followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Simpson talked about the firefights and harsh weather he endured in France and Germany.
“We had lost three times the people in Bastogne [France],” said Simpson. “We were sent to replace those soldiers in the fight.”
He also told a story about an attempt to cross the Ruhr river alongside nine fellow soldiers. Six of them were killed by machine gun fire while Simpson survived by staying submerged in the river.
Students listened to stories of war, loss, and humorous encounters throughout his travels while Simpson presented a slideshow of photos from that period.
Simpson answered questions and took pictures with students after the presentation.
Retired Lt. Col. Terry LeBoeuf is a senior Army instructor at Paschal High School who said he enjoyed Simpson’s presentation.
“It was a great opportunity to learn history from someone who witnessed it first-hand,” LeBoeuf said. “The students learned much more in that time then they could have learned from a book.”
Simpson was awarded the Bronze Star Medal on behalf of his heroic achievement and meritorious service within a combat zone.
“Coming home to my family was the best gift I could have received,” Simpson said.
For more information on the Pascal High School or their JROTC program visit

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