RIP Arthur Jackson, Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Peleliu

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RIP Arthur Jackson, Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Peleliu

Sadly, the number of living Medal of Honor recipients has decreased by one hero:

Marine Corps Capt. Arthur J. Jackson, who received the Medal of Honor for killing 50 Japanese soldiers and silencing a dozen enemy pillboxes during the World War II battle of Peleliu, and almost two decades later was forced out of the service after covering up his slaying of an alleged Cuban spy, died June 14 in Boise, Idaho. He was 92.  The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announced the death but did not provide a cause.

Pfc. Jackson, then 19, was with the 1st Marine Division in the western Pacific during one of the most grueling battles in that theater of operations. He was among the wave of U.S. forces that landed on Japanese-controlled Peleliu on Sept. 15, 1944, with the intent of overtaking it within days and securing the entire Palau Islands chain in advance of the invasion of the Philippines and Japan.

Instead they met a large, determined and heavily fortified Japanese resistance, about 11,000 troops in all, that inflicted heavy casualties and kept the battle raging for two months before U.S. forces prevailed. Eventually more than 27,000 Americans were involved in the struggle for Peleliu, and they endured one of the highest rates of death and injury in the Pacific, with at least 2,300 killed and 8,400 wounded.

In 2011 PFC Jackson did an interview for the Medal of Honor book. 

Lucky day indeed:

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.

My friend Doug Sterner who writes for Home of Heroes posted a handy graphic on his Facebook page regarding the numbers of living recipients:

RIP Private First Class (later CPT) Jackson.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.