Project Hero: 1LT Walter Bryan Jackson, Distinguished Service Cross Posted by: McQ
on Friday, November 09, 2007
You'll find this story in no news outlet that I know of. It is being carried primarily by the blogs. A young LT presented the second highest award for valor, just below the Medal of Honor, and no one covers it.
Think of it. A young officer, a 2LT at the time, just beginning his career, and he's faced with a situation that 99% of those of his age group will never be called on to face. And he comes through like a true leader should:
Nov. 2, 2007: First Lt. Walter B. Jackson [Oak Harbor, Washington] became the seventh Soldier since the Vietnam War ended in 1975 to receive the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in action.
Secretary of the Army Pete Geren presented the DSC, which is second in precedence to only the Medal of Honor for valor in battle, at a ceremony held in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes this afternoon.
A second lieutenant at the time of his heroic action on Sept. 27, 2006, Lt. Jackson was cited for selfless courage under extreme enemy fire while serving as a company fire support officer with company A, Task Force 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
Lt. Jackson was engaged in combat operations with his unit against insurgents and while he attempted to recover a disabled vehicle, his unit came under heavy machine gun fire, which resulted in several Soldiers being wounded. As he applied first aid to a severely wounded comrade, he too was shot in the thigh.
Lt. Jackson’s citation in part reads: “Upon regaining consciousness after being shot, second lieutenant alternated between returning fire and administering first aid to the Soldier. Second Lt. Jackson was hit again with machine gun fire as he helped carry his wounded comrade to safety, but he never faltered in his aid. Although his own severe wounds required immediate evacuation and surgical care, 2nd Lt. Jackson refused medical assistance until his wounded comrade could be treated. Second Lt. Jackson’s selfless courage under extreme enemy fire was essential to saving another Soldier’s life and is in keeping with the finest traditions of military service…”
Before the presentation, Lt. Col. Thomas C. Graves, former Task Force commander, recounted part of that September 2006 day when he arrived at the medical aid station to see his wounded Soldiers and the first words to come from 2nd Lt. Jackson were of concern for the wounded captain he’d rescued.
“All the leadership schools, classes and years of experience never really prepare you for that moment in time when you are standing among heroes who have given their all, where their first concerns still remain with their fellow Soldiers,” he said. “It reinforces duty and commitment unlike any other experience.”
After Secretary Geren made the award presentation, 1st Lt. Jackson spoke to the packed room, humbly thanking his family, his West Point classmates and the Soldiers he’s served with in his short two-year career and saying simply, “I believe I just had to do what I had to do in that situation… I think many Soldiers would have done the same thing.”
1st Lt. Jackson has been recovering from his wounds at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, having undergone more than a dozen surgeries. While recovering at WRAMC, he volunteered as an intern with the Judge Advocate General’s office. He is awaiting orders to take over a multiple launch rocket system platoon in Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division Fires Brigade.
Duty, honor and country are not hollow words to this young man. Nor are leadership and comradeship. To echo John Donovan, "Well done, LT."
PROJECT HERO is an ongoing attempt to highlight the valor of our military as they fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We constantly hear the negative and far to little of the positive and inspiring stories coming out of those countries. This is one small attempt to rectify that. If you know of a story of valor you'd like to see highlighted here (published on Saturday), please contact us. And we'd appreciate your link so we can spread the word.
I had wondered if you were going to pick this one up, Bruce. Good on ya, Mate.
I said at my own place, this morning:
At the risk of waxing political, I will point out that this is the second story today surrounding the prosecution and support of the Iraq war, that the press has held its silence. (The first being the speech of Lieberman, the other day... Bit)
Time was in this country, when faced with a mortal enemy, we didn’t have to fight that mortal enemy, while also fighting our own press. Has it come to this, that such an act of courage in support of these United States gets ignored by our own press because the very existence of that act doesn’t match the narrative of one of our political parties?