JACKSON, JOHNNIE BRUCE
JACKSON, JOHNNIE BRUCE
Rank / Branch:
LCPL E-3, USMC
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, SMALL ARMS
Awards & Decorations:
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JOHNNIE BRUCE JACKSON, LANCE CORPORAL, USMC, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, RVN Campaign Medal.
J. Bruce Jackson was a native of Corpus Christi, where he was born. He was the son of John E. Jackson and Mrs. W. R. Beyer. His parents divorced and his mother remarried and the family moved to Odessa. Bruce attended Odessa Schools, first at Ross Elementary, Bonham and Hood Junior High Schools. He attended Permian High School his freshman year and sophomore years and then attended the Schriener Institute in Kerrville, Texas, his junior year. He married Barbara Hamm of Odessa in early 1965 and he was living in Fort Worth, where he was working for General Dynamics. He entered the U.S. Marine Corp in Septembr 1965. He completed his boot camp at the Marine Corp Recruit Training Depot at San Diego, Calfornia and his ITR in infantry at Camp Pendleton, California. He also trained as a radio operator. While in training his son, Eric Bruce was born in Odessa.
He began his tour in Vietnam on December 22, 1966. He was assigned to Combined Action Company E (Echo), 2nd Combined Action Group, 3rd Marine Action Force. He was the radio operator for the ECHO Company Commander. After serving in Vietnam for 12 months, he came home to Odessa on Xmas leave for 30 days to spend it with his wife and small son. He returned to Vietnam on January 16, 1968, as his unit was due to rotate to the states in late February 1968 giving him the normal 13 month tour for a Marine. He only had to serve one additional month in Vietnam. According to his wife, he didn't want to go back, but felt it was duty as there was still work left to done.
In the days following the TET Offensive which began on January 30, 1968, and continuing into February 1968, the Combined Action Company Echo had small units of 10-12 men stationed in small villages covering the southern approaches to DaNang. One of those units, CAP Echo 4, was in Lo Giang hamlet, just south of the Cam Le Bridge over the Cau Do River. On February 8, 1968, ECHO 4 came under heavy attack by a mixed VC/NVA force seemingly intent on attacking the DaNang Air Base.
While part of the NVA/VC force laid seige to ECHO 4, the bulk of the force moved north and forded the Cau Do River east of the Cam Le Bridge. A second Combined Action unit, CAP ECHO 3, was in place on the northern side of the river; it too was directly in the path of the NVA/VC regiment's path. Fortunately, ECHO 3 was not hit as hard because ECHO 4 was fighting for its life and was holding up the remainder of NVA/VC forces. An A-1 Skyraider had strafed the river and this action seemed to also disrupt the attack and force the enemy to disperse.
ECHO 4 was getting desperate, they were running out of ammunition, supplementing their limited supplies with AK 47's and the ammunition from dead VC/NVA soldiers. The ECHO Company commander, Captain Howard L. Joseland directed that a reactionary force from the other units be formed. His radio operator was LCpl J. Bruce Jackson. The reactionary force consisted of 17 men. They departed ECHO Company headquaters at Hoa Vang by truck and crossed the Cam Le Bridge, and started on foot up the dirt road toward the ECHO 4 compound.
When the relief force approached the tree line surrounding to Lo Giang Hamlet, they ran head long into 250-350 NVA/VC. Cpt Joselane and the marines fought valiantly, but they were hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned.
The last radio communication to Hoa Vang was: "...we're getting chewed up...we're not going to get out...there are too many... they're all over us...no way out. Don't send anyone else in here...Tell my wife I love her..."
Fading daylight and uncertainity about the sitution with respect to the exact location of the relief force, and limited manpower caused the 2nd CA Force Group to decide against sending in further forces before sunrise on the 9th. One survivor of the ambush made his way back to Hoa Hung. When the second reaction force went in, they found one badly wounded survivor, twelve dead, and three missing. Among the dead was LCpl J. Bruce Jackson.
Of the three missing, two were captured and died in captivity, one was captured and escaped during the confusion of the battle. The one individual was seriously wounded survived.
LCpl J. Bruce Jackson was buried with full military honors in the Sunset Memorial Garden's Cemetery in Odessa on February 24, 1968. He was survived by his mother, Mrs. W.R. Beyer of Odessa, his wife, Barbara of Odessa, his son, Eric Bruce, age 2, as well as his sister, Sherry Jackson and brother, Andy both of Odessa, they were 17 and 15 respectively. He was also survived by his father, John E. Jackson of Grand Prairie, Texas
Sunset Memorial Garden's Cemetery, Odessa, Texas