Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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Vietnam War - U.S. Air Force

Joe M. Jackson

Details
  • Rank: Lieutenant Colonel (Highest Rank: Colonel)
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    311th Air Commando Squadron, Da Nang,
    834th Air Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Air Force
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: May 12, 1968
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Kham Duc, Republic of Vietnam
Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Lt. Col. Jackson distinguished himself as a pilot of a C-123 aircraft. Lt. Col. Jackson volunteered to attempt the rescue of a three-man USAF Combat Control Team from the Special Forces camp at Kham Duc. Hostile forces had overrun the forward outpost and established gun positions on the airstrip. They were raking the camp with small-arms, mortars, light and heavy automatic-weapons, and recoilless-rifle fire. The camp was engulfed in flames and ammunition dumps were continuously exploding and littering the runway with debris. In addition, eight aircraft had been destroyed by the intense enemy fire and one aircraft remained on the runway reducing its usable length to only 2,200 feet. To further complicate the landing, the weather was deteriorating rapidly, thereby permitting only one air strike prior to his landing. Although fully aware of the extreme danger and likely failure of such an attempt, Lt. Col. Jackson elected to land his aircraft and attempt to rescue. Displaying superb airmanship and extraordinary heroism, he landed his aircraft near the point where the combat control team was reported to be hiding. While on the ground, his aircraft was the target of intense hostile fire. A rocket landed in front of the nose of the aircraft but failed to explode. Once the combat control team was aboard, Lt. Col. Jackson succeeded in getting airborne despite the hostile fire directed across the runway in front of his aircraft. Lt. Col. Jackson's profound concern for his fellow men, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

USED WITH PERMISSION, COPYRIGHT NICK DELCALZO
USED WITH PERMISSION, COPYRIGHT NICK DELCALZO
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Newnan, Coweta County, Georgia
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: January 16, 1969

    The White house, presented by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson

  • Born: March 14, 1923, Newnan, Coweta County, GA, United States
  • Died: January 12, 2019, Orting, WA, United States
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, United States
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