Captain of the football team and a member of the varsity eight in his junior year, Francis May Simonds graduated from Columbia University in 1916. Flying the SPAD XIII, Simonds was one of five airmen to become an ace while serving with the 147th Aero Squadron under James Meissner.
An excellent pilot who has always shown great courage and an absolute scorn for danger. On 2 July 1918, being on a patrol of seven planes, he continued a hard fight although both his machine guns jammed. On 16 July 1918, he attacked three enemy planes, brought down one, forced another to land and put the third to flight.
General Order No. 12.027, GHQ French Armies of the East, 29 November 1918