Hood River native Jacob Simpson killed in Iraq

A former Hood River resident was killed this week in Iraq.

Jacob Simpson, a 24-year-old U.S. Army sergeant who was born and raised in Hood River, was hit by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade.

According to the Associated Press, Simpson was killed Monday while he was on foot on a reconnaissance patrol, clearing a building near the northern city of Tikrit. He was a member of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Carson, Colo.

Simpson’s grandmother, Donna Layman, who lives in Hood River, said that her grandson grew up here and went to Hood River Valley High School for a year or two before moving to Ashland. She said he played football here.

“He was very tall and very handsome,” she said. “And so good and kind. This just shouldn’t have happened.”

Simpson’s mother, Roberta Simpson, and brother, Carey, live in Lake Oswego. He also has two sisters: Rebekah Simpson, who lives in Glenwood, Wash., and Kimberly Bemiss of Banks, Ore.

Layman said that Jacob still has family living in Hood River, including his aunt and uncle, Janet and John Schmidt, cousins Jim and John, Jr., and an uncle, Gary Simpson.

Layman said that this was her grandson’s second tour in Iraq, and that he had been there since the end of March. She last saw him at Christmas.

“He was the first family member to hold his niece, Becki’s daughter Madison,” she said. “He also walked his sister Kim down the aisle at her wedding in October.”

Governor Ted Kulongoski asked that all flags at public institutions be flown at half-staff on Friday, May 20, “in memory and honor of Army Sergeant Jacob M. Simpson of Ashland, Ore.” He praised Simpson’s bravery and sought to comfort his family.

“Oregon will remember him as a hero who stood for the values of our country and fought valiantly to protect them,” he said in a news release. “We send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all families who have loved ones away at war.”

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