Tom Simpson served in Germany during the Vietnam War and comes from a family with military service dating back to the Civil War. His great-great grandfather, born in New York Harbor, served in the Civil War. His grandfather was a World War I vet, and his father served in World War II. Simpson was a first year student at the University of Iowa when riots protesting the war were underway. That spring, political activism on campus shut the university down. Simpson returned to Niles, Iowa, a farming community where he grew up. He decided not to go back to college because he wasn’t devoting himself to his education. “I decided, ‘I think I’ll just go with the Army. If I don’t, I’ll just get drafted, so I volunteered.'”

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