The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
JACKSON, JOE M.
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.