QUEBEC, CA U.S. Marines SGT, D CO, 1ST RECON BN, (3D RECON BN, RCT-5, I MEF FWD), CAMP PENDLETON, CA TAQADDUM, IRAQ 10/14/2006
Sergeant Jonathan J. Simpson of Rockport, Texas, age 25, was a flight navigator who left for Iraq in September and was killed during combat operations near Fallujah.
He joined the Marine Corps about five years ago. He was born in Quebec, Canada and had dual Canadian and U.S. citizenship. He is survived by his father Frank Simpson of Rockport, TX and his mother Johanne Paquette of Chertsey, QC and extended family.
Sergeant Simpson was serving in Okinawa when his cousin, Marine Lance Corporal Abraham Simpson, was killed in action in Nov. 2004 during the battle for Fallujah. Simpson apparently wanted to honour his cousin by switching from flying aircraft to fighting on the front lines. Photos of them in full dress uniform are displayed side-by-side at the Rockport Wal-Mart, where they share a wall with other local military personnel.
Frank Simpson said his son saw those photos during one of his visits from California.
“I watched him and he looked at every face – that’s a Marine,” Simpson said, adding that his son, who once was on the dean’s list at Del Mar College, had dreams of owning land in the Coastal Bend after he finished his service. “He loved his country, he loved Texas. He was a good soldier.”
The 25-year-old apparently grew up in Montreal, but according to relatives, went to visit his father in Texas and never returned to Canada. Simpson was assigned to 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Frank Simpson said military officials told him his son, who was in the special forces, was on foot patrol when his unit was fired upon by insurgents.
Fellow Marine Brad Kealiher, who lives in Wisconsin, met Jonathan Simpson in San Antonio where they were stationed in 2002.
“He was a little different, being that he grew up in Canada, but the first thing I noticed was he was smart with bookwork and math,” said Kealiher, who was honorably discharged the same day his friend shipped off to Iraq.
After being stationed apart, the two friends reunited in San Diego, Calif., in January.
“We did a lot of barbecuing, sitting in my garage in lawn chairs, listening to music and talking about what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives,” he said.
Kealiher said he, Jonathan and Frank Simpson went camping just before Jonathan left. During the trip, Kealiher, who served three tours in the Middle East, told his friend what to expect in Iraq. Simpson was unfazed.
“He was in the same mindset we all were – you’re not really scared. You’re going into it and willing to accept whatever life throws at you.”