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Sgt Jonathan James Simpson, USMC
by Maria Simpson
Jonathan, an only child, was born and grew up in Quebec with his mother Johanne and his maternal grandparents in a beautiful house on the lake. The first time we met Jonathan he was 14. He drove here from Rockport, Texas with his dad, Jim's brother Frank. Abe, David & Paul were 11, 9 & 8 respectively. Jonathan spoke mostly French and just a little English. When we went up stairs to check on the boys, they were playing with army men. Jonathan had snipers hidden in the coat of our Shepherd/Chow mix dog, Buster. They got along as brothers, and considered each other as such after that, even though our visits were scarce.
After Jonathan finished school, he went to live with his dad in Rockport for about a year while he obtained his US citizenship, developed a unique French-Canadian/Texas drawl and enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps before 9-11-2001. His test scores were high and though the experience he was looking for in the service was the adventure and esprit de corps of being in the infantry, he was convinced to pursue an MOS in the air wing. His training was extensive, and eventually he was stationed in Okinawa. Jonathan and Johanne stayed with us for a couple of days before he left for Japan and she returned to Quebec. Abe graduated from boot camp the following week on November 7, 2003.
Jonathan was a navigator on C130's. He was always flying all over the world. We received communication from him occasionally by email, phone or post card. I don't think he and Abe ever spoke on the phone as Marines, but their communication by email and letters revealed a deep bond between them as Simpson's and now as Marines.
When we were able to reach Jonathan to tell him what had happened to Abe, he made arrangements to fly to California to be a pall bearer for his cousin. He told Jim that he had been saving his money since Abe left for Iraq in case something happened to him and he would have to fly back to the states, or to Quebec if his grandfather, who was in ill health, passed away.
He went back to Okinawa for another year, after which the Marine Corps phased out his job of Navigator. He had always wanted to be infantry, so he tried out for Recon, and on March 7, 2006 he graduated BRC, Basic Reconnaissance Course at the Naval base on Coronado Island in San Diego. For family, it was a proud day yet at the same time a poignant one, considering what had happened to Abe one year and 4 months earlier.
Jonathan was stationed at Margarita(ville), Camp Pendleton with 3rd Recon Battalion Bravo 2 which was slated to go to Iraq in September. Jonathan was ready for it and wanted to do his part.
He and Frank stayed with us from Friday, September 22 to Sunday, September 24. They went back to Camp Pendleton to camp on base another 2 nights and on Tuesday morning around 8 am he left on a bus to March Air force base, and from there, on to Iraq.
We received a handful of emails from him, which I have included below, just to show you what a great attitude he had, reflecting what a great kid he was:
September 30, 2006, 1:02 am
Got in Iraq yesterday. Sitting in TQ right now, waiting to get into Fallujah tonight. The trip here has been relatively painless so far and the C130 ride was pretty cool. I guess they did some type of low IR approach, high angle from 20,000' and pulled near 3G's and all the guys had this weird look on their faces in the back, it was hilarious. I know I was laughing! Chow halls are awesome around here, so the Iraqi weight lost program I keep hearing about was straight bogus, Ha! (maybe later, we'll see). They got gyms and you can do some running. Free internet cafes and movie theaters. I got to admit though, this place really looks like a dump, awesome setup for the cradle of civilization all right. All right guys, I'll talk to you later. Don't forget to send me that 60" flat screen with the xbox 360, might as well throw in that LazyBoy!! Take care, Love
Jonathan xxx(for the girls, ha,ha)
September 30, 2006 10:54 pm
Thanks for the quick response guys! Got in Fallujah last night. Got set up in my "can". I live with my team leader. The rooms aren't bad. The ac is kicking and we're still scrounging for anything we can get for free from the other guys we're replacing, like tv's and refrigerators. The food is still good here and yes, it still looks like a dump. The smell on the streets threw me right back into south east asia except we didn't see a soul on the streets. Someone needs to get my dad hooked up with the internet (richard, wink,wink, if you get a chance) cause this is so much easier, oh yeah, and free! As far as packages go, I'll take anything, from toothpaste to socks to laundry soap and beef jerky. I can get all this stuff here but since you guys are offering : ) .... I'll take the free stuff Ha! Ha! (what a cheap XXX!!) Plus getting some mail is always fun, as long as there's news from back home.
Sorry for the mass e-mail. I read all your replies and I'm glad to see that everyone is doing good back home. All right guys, take care, we'll talk to you soon. Love,
Jonathan xxx (yeah, for the girls!!)
P.S. Please tell grand ma that I received her card. Hugs and kisses and all is well under the south west asia sun. thanks.
October 2, 2006, 9:49 am
... Well, not much going on here. Just sitting on base, getting some classes and getting some more gear issued. A few ranges coming up and then we should start operating outside the wire. We're just picking the brains of the guys we're replacing right now, asking them all kinds of questions. Went for a run this morning. The weather's pretty nice around 6 am, but it gets around the mid 90's during the day, with the sun pounding, a little too hot for running. Today's been one of those days. It seems like a lot of people showed up and there's lines everywhere, chow, px, internet, port-o-john's. And let the complaining begin!! Everybody's doing it, Ha! Well, Maria, I'll let you go. Sounds like you guys are doing good. Say hi to everyone for me and we'll communicate again shortly. Take care, Love,
October 5, 2006 12:16 am
What's up guys,
Another mass e-mail. Well, nothing to report from the middle east. Still hanging tight on base, not doing much. We get to work out a lot, which is good. Still stuffing my face at the chow hall and trying to make the most of this free internet. The weather is cooling down to sub 100's and we had a few drops of rain yesterday. I can see this place becoming a permanent duty station like Okinawa, with barracks and all. Next thing you know, there'll be off base libo in civies, tattoo parlors and bars right outside the gate! See how that flies with the muslims. Like a lead balloon, probably. All right guys, we'll talk to you later. Take care,
Hugs and kisses to all the ladies out there!!
On Saturday, October 14, he was shot by a rooftop sniper in the back at 1:15 pm and pronounced dead once they got to the hospital at 2:15 pm. The preliminary report states that the bullet entered his chest through his back between the sappy plates while on his first reconnaissance mission in Habbaniyah.
Pretty amazing, huh? Two Simpson's, one awful place.
Jonathan was returned to his mother Johanne in Quebec and buried there. You have no idea how much we appreciate your prayers.
Thank you for letting me share this with you. Bless you.