World War II veteran gets his medals 70 years after the war to answer a question from his grandson

OLD TAPPAN, New Jersey -- A World War II veteran from New Jersey was presented with his service medals Monday, more than 70 years after he served in the deadliest war in history.

Thomas Simpson is 92 years old. He enlisted in the Navy when he turned 17.

He served as a Ship's Cook Third Class in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and came back to live a full and happy life.

One day one of his grandsons asked him about his time in the service.

"He said 'papa, what did you do in the war?' I said 'I'll get my medals and I'll show you,'" Simpson said.

That culminated Monday in Congressman Josh Gottheimer delivering three medals and two other service honors to Simpson: the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Honorable Reserve Discharge Button and the Ruptured Duck Honorable Service Lapel Pin

Rep. Gottheimer also presented Simpson with an American flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor.

Following his military service, Simpson later served as River Vale's Chief of Police for 23 years.

Simpson is now retired along with his wife of 71 years.

Fewer than 500,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are still alive today.
Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.