RR Patch



Command pilot wings

U.S. Air Force, 311th Air Commando Squadron, Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam

Kham Duc, Republic of Vietnam, 12 May 1968

Born: 14 March 1923, Newnan, Georgia

Entered service at: Newnan, Georgia

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor


Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force, 311th Air Commando Squadron, Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam. Place and date: Kham Duc, Republic of Vietnam, 12 May 1968. Entered service at: Noonan, Ga. Born: 14 March 1923, Newman, Ga.


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.

Roadrunners Internationale remembers Lt. Col. Joe M. Jackson as one of the first Air Force pilots to train in the U-2 at Groom Lake in 1955. Joe was assigned to 4080th at Laughlin Tex. Joe also worked for Col Holbury, Chief of the Reconnaissance Branch at SAC Command Post, under the director of operations. Joe was responsible for coordination and briefing of all Idealist (CIA) overflights to SAC key personnel, ie Col Holbury, Gen Wiseman (Chief SAC Command Post) Gen Blanchard, Director of Operations and when necessary Gen Powers. He also planned and monitored all AF U-2 photo and air sampling operations as directed by AF Hqs.

The Joe Jackson Story

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