Private First Class Arthur J. Jackson, USMC (September 18, 1944)

Arthur J. Jackson was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 18, 1924. He volunteered and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in December 1942 at age eighteen. After his recruit training in San Diego, California, he joined the 1st Marine Division in time to see his first combat service during the Battle of Cape Gloucester.

3/7 Marines (Wikimedia Commons)

By September 1944, Jackson was a Private First Class with the 1st Marine Division’s 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment and was preparing for the invasion of Peleliu, which began on September 15.

Three days later on September 18, 1944, Jackson’s platoon was held up in their advance by Japanese defenders in numerous, well-fortified positions. He proceeded to attack twelve Japanese pillboxes all by himself, destroying them all and changing the course of the battle in his sector.

By the time his Medal of Honor was awarded, he had risen through the ranks, served during the Battle of Okinawa, and had been commissioned as an officer.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (G-L):

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Jackson receives the Medal of Honor from President Truman, 10/5/1945 (USN/USMC)

JACKSON, ARTHUR J.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Island of Peleliu in the Palau group, 18 September 1944. Entered service at: Oregon

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on the Island of Peleliu in the Palau group, 18 September 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, Pfc. Jackson unhesitatingly proceeded forward of our lines and, courageously defying the heavy barrages, charged a large pillbox housing approximately 35 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 similar means to smash 2 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 1 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 12 pillboxes and 50 Japanese soldiers. Stouthearted and indomitable despite the terrific odds. Pfc. Jackson resolutely maintained control of the platoon’s left flank movement throughout his valiant 1-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 Pfc. Jackson and the U.S. Naval Service.

Jackson left the Marines soon after receiving his Medal, and later served with the United States Army and Army Reserves, including during the Korean War, and attained the rank of Captain. He also later rejoined the Marines. His uniformed service ended with his retirement in 1984.

Arthur Jackson is still living and resides in Boise, Idaho.

3rd Battalion 7th Marines is still active as an infantry battalion of the 1st Marine Division. Their home station is the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California.

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