Saturday, March 09, 2013

TFH 3/9: CPT Jack H. Jacobs, USA

Jack Howard Jacobs was born just days before the end of World War II on August 2, 1945 in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey and attended Rutgers University where he was a member of Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). After graduation in 1966, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.

Less than two years later, then First Lieutenant Jacobs was assigned as a military advisor to the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV). While assigned to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam's 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division on March 9, 1968, Jacobs took command of one Vietnamese company when its command group was devastated by casualties and even though he was wounded himself, single-handedly ventured repeatedly into the line of fire to evacuate casualties and counter-attack the enemy.

Afterwards, he was promoted to Captain, and then later he received our Nation's highest honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Vietnam War (A-L):


Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, U.S. Army Element, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Republic of Vietnam. Place and date: Kien Phong Province, Republic of Vietnam, 9 March 1968. Entered service at: Trenton, N.J. Born: 2 August 1945, Brooklyn, N.Y. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Jacobs (then 1st Lt.), Infantry, distinguished himself while serving as assistant battalion advisor, 2d Battalion, 16th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. The 2d Battalion was advancing to contact when it came under intense heavy machine gun and mortar fire from a Viet Cong battalion positioned in well fortified bunkers. As the 2d Battalion deployed into attack formation its advance was halted by devastating fire. Capt. Jacobs, with the command element of the lead company, called for and directed air strikes on the enemy positions to facilitate a renewed attack. Due to the intensity of the enemy fire and heavy casualties to the command group, including the company commander, the attack stopped and the friendly troops became disorganized. Although wounded by mortar fragments, Capt. Jacobs assumed command of the allied company, ordered a withdrawal from the exposed position and established a defensive perimeter. Despite profuse bleeding from head wounds which impaired his vision, Capt. Jacobs, with complete disregard for his safety, returned under intense fire to evacuate a seriously wounded advisor to the safety of a wooded area where he administered lifesaving first aid. He then returned through heavy automatic weapons fire to evacuate the wounded company commander. Capt. Jacobs made repeated trips across the fire-swept open rice paddies evacuating wounded and their weapons. On 3 separate occasions, Capt. Jacobs contacted and drove off Viet Cong squads who were searching for allied wounded and weapons, single-handedly killing 3 and wounding several others. His gallant actions and extraordinary heroism saved the lives of 1 U.S. advisor and 13 allied soldiers. Through his effort the allied company was restored to an effective fighting unit and prevented defeat of the friendly forces by a strong and determined enemy. Capt. Jacobs, by his gallantry and bravery in action in the highest traditions of the military service, has reflected great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Jacobs was also a two-time recipient of the Silver Star for valor in combat. He retired from the Army as a Colonel in 1987. He has worked since in business and as a military analyst in the media. Jack Jacobs is still living and resides in Far Hills, New Jersey.

On March 3, 2004, Colonel Jacobs gave an interview to the Pritzker Military Library. I encourage all my readers to take time to listen or watch it.

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