Arthur J. Jackson

Posted on Jul 1, 2016

Updated September 8, 2017

Arthur J. JacksonCaptain Arthur J. Jackson (born October 18, 1924) is a United States Marine who received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Peleliu during World War II. PFC Jackson single-handedly destroyed 12 enemy pillboxes and killed 50 enemy soldiers.

On September 30, 1961, while serving at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Jackson fatally shot Rubén López Sabariego, a Cuban worker at Guantanamo , and unsuccessfully attempted to hide his body in a shallow grave.

Early years

Arthur J. Jackson was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 18, 1924. He moved to Portland , Oregon with his parents in 1939, and completed Grant High School there. After graduation, he worked in Alaska for a naval construction company until November 1942, when he returned to Portland and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of eighteen.

Military service

In January 1943, he began his recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, and soon thereafter joined the 1st Marine Division in Melbourne, Australia in June 1943. On January 13, 1944, while taking part in the Cape Gloucester campaign, he carried a wounded Marine to safety in the face of well-entrenched Japanese troops on the slope of a steep hill, thus saving the wounded man’s life. For this action, he was awarded a Letter of Commendation.

Following this, while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, he took part in the fighting and was wounded on Peleliu ? for his heroic actions in that battle, he was awarded the Medal of Honor and was awarded his first Purple Heart. He again went into combat on Okinawa where, as a platoon sergeant with the 1st Marine Division, he was again wounded in action on May 18, 1945. That August, he was commissioned as a Marine second lieutenant.

During ceremonies at the White House on October 5, 1945, President Harry S. Truman presented him with the Nation’s highest combat award—the Medal of Honor.

Following the war, he served in North China during the post-war occupation of that country. On his return to the United States , he returned briefly to civilian life, but, shortly after, entered the U.S. Army Reserves where, in 1954, he made the rank of captain. Although he served with the Army during the Korean War, he returned to the Marine Corps in 1959. He again left the Corps in 1962 but remained active in the Army Reserves and eventually retired from that service in 1984. During this time he also worked for the United States Postal Service.

Jackson died June 14 in Boise, Idaho. He was 92.

Arthur J. Jackson, right, receives the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman on the lawn of the White House in Washington on Oct. 5, 1945. (Family photo)

 

Medal of Honor citation

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

PRIVATE FIRST CLASS ARTHUR J. JACKSON
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

    For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on the Island of Peleliu in the Palau Group, September 18, 1944. Boldly taking the initiative when his platoon’s left flank advance was held up by the fire of Japanese troops concealed in strongly fortified positions, Private First Class Jackson unhesitatingly proceeded forward of our lines and, courageously defying the heavy barrages, charged a large pillbox housing approximately thirty-five enemy soldiers. Pouring his automatic fire into the opening of the fixed installation to trap the occupying troops, he hurled white phosphorus grenades and explosive charges brought up by a fellow Marine, demolishing the pillbox and killing all of the enemy. Advancing alone under the continuous fire from other hostile emplacements, he employed a similar means to smash two smaller positions in the immediate vicinity. Determined to crush the entire pocket of resistance although harassed on all sides by the shattering blasts of Japanese weapons and covered only by small rifle parties, he stormed one gun position after another, dealing death and destruction to the savagely fighting enemy in his inexorable drive against the remaining defenses and succeeded in wiping out a total of twelve pillboxes and fifty Japanese soldiers. Stouthearted and indomitable despite the terrific odds, Private First Class Jackson resolutely maintained control of the platoon’s left flank movement throughout his valiant one-man assault and, by his cool decision and relentless fighting spirit during a critical situation, contributed essentially to the complete annihilation of the enemy in the southern sector of the island. His gallant initiative and heroic conduct in the face of extreme peril reflect the highest credit upon Private First Class Jackson and the United States Naval Service.

/S/ HARRY S. TRUMAN