|Colonel Joe M. Jackson, USAF (Retired)|
Medal of Honor
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 pilot of a C-123 aircraft. Lt. Col. Jackson volunteered to attempt the rescue of a 3-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, 8 aircraft had been destroyed by the intense enemy fire and 1 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 1 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 fellowmen, 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.As you might know, I've been chasing the story of the Battle of Kham Duc in Vietnam. Lots of stuff to read, some of it is tainted by political bias, some of it is good stuff. What Juvat likes to call my (ahem) authoritative source is not always that reliable.
I will use the verbiage from time to time if it's clear, concise and direct. But only if I have cross checked it with other sources or if it's a subject I consider myself an authority on and I feel that the Wikipedia article is untainted and accurate.
Hell, I'll take slightly tainted as long as it's accurate.
But while researching the Battle of Kham Duc I keep seeing the words "heroic" and "brave." So while I'm still trying to fit this battle into the overall context of things happening within and without Vietnam, I had to relate Colonel Jackson's Medal of Honor award.
This succinct account says it well...
|That aircraft circled in yellow is that of Lt Col Jackson at Kham Duc, under fire, taxiing for take-off. (Source)|
|Fairchild C-123K Provider, same type of aircraft flown by Col Jackson at Kham Duc|
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Sgt. Rozalyn Dorsey)
There will be more to come on Kham Duc, but I want to make sure I get it right.
Those who fell there deserve that much.
Colonel Jackson. Brass ones.
Big brass ones.