Retired Army Col. Arthur (Bull) Simsons, 60, who led a commando raid into North Vietnam in 1970 in an unsuccessful attempt to free U.S. prisoners of war, died Monday at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Tex.
He had suffered a heart attack while vacationing in Colorado in March, a month after he had returned to this country from Iran, where he had organized the escape of two American engineers who had been jailed there.He later was transferred to Baylor Hospital.
A career soldier, who had served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, Col. Simons directed a team of 15 men in the rescue of the two Americans being held hostage in Iran.
The Iranian government reportedly had asked for a $12.75 million ransom for William Gaylord and Paul Schiapperone, engineers for the Dallas-based Electronic Data Systems, which is owned by millionare H. Ross Perot. After the escape, Perot said he had financed an American-led commando squad, which brought about a mob assault on the prison that freed thousands of inmates, including the two Americans.
Col. Simons made the news in November 1970 when it was disclosed that he had an unsuccessful assault deep into North Vietnam to liberate Americans at the Sontay prisoner-of-war camp.
In the vanguard were about 50 hand-picked Army Rangers, Green Berets and Air Force para-rescue specialists, who had been trained for the raid at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Col. Simons, who still was on active duty at the time, helped in the training.
As it turned out, the prisoners had been removed from the camp, located about 30 miles north of Hanoi, before the raiding party attacked. The strike force met heavy resistance but there were no casualties.
Col. Simons was presented the Distinguished Service Cross by President Nixon for his part in the raid. He also had received the Silver Star during his military career, which ended with his retirement at the end of 1970.
He is survived by two sons, Harry, of Red Bay, Fla., and Bruce, of Haynes Junction, Northwest Territory, Canada; a sister, Lenore Bell, of Tucson, Ariz., and a brother, Stanley, of Morris Plains, N.J. CAPTION: Picture, COL. ARTHUR SIMONS