In Memoriam

Skip Jackson

Paul Vernon Jackson, III

Capt. Paul V. Jackson, III, Class of 1968, was killed in action on 24 December 1972 while on an operational mission over Laos. He was survived by his mother, Mrs. Opal R. Jackson. Capt. Jackson was named to the Superintendent's Merit List while a cadet. He was a member of the Ski Club. In 1966 he fought in the Cadet Wing Open Boxing Tournament and was crowned the Heavyweight Champion. Following a year at the George Washington University School of Medicine, Capt. Jackson attended UPT at Moody AFB. In 1971 he was assigned to the 20 TASS, Danang AB, SVN. Later, he assumed duties with the 56th Special Operations Wing, Udorn AB, Thailand.

Skip Jackson was Raven Two One and stationed at Long Tieng. On December 24, 1972, Christmas Eve, Skip Jackson found substantial stacks of NVA supplies under trees on the PDJ and requested tactical air to destroy those supplies. Four Air Force A-7 aircraft (SLAM Flight) responded. Capt. Chuck Riess was a member of that flight flying SLAM Zero Four. The site under attack possessed both 12.7 and 14.5 weapons and the enemy had no reluctance to use them. After briefing the fighters and marking the target the Raven sequentially cleared each of the fighters 'in hot', to release bombs on the supplies below. A-7's were a particular delight to FACs because they could put bombs on target with extraordinarily destructive accuracy. During SLAM Zero Four's pass the FAC abruptly pulled into an almost vertical climb and right into the A-7's flight path. Don't know why. The A-7 maneuvered violently to avoid collision with the FAC. The O-1's left wing strut was clipped, the left wing parted. The A-7 became uncontrollable. Riess punched out. Another FAC, "Raven 20", piloted by Chuck Hines, arrived on-scene from Twenty Alternate a few minutes later. Both aircraft were visible on the ground, the A-7 still burning and Riess already in enemy hands. Riess had landed almost at the front door of an underground NVA Regimental Artillery command post. After what must have been a spectacular descent with only one wing attached to the airplane, the O-1 came to rest on the ground sitting upright on its main and tail gear. Hines reported that Skip Jackson was dead, based on what he had personally observed from a very low altitude visual check of the crash scene. Returning the evening of 24 Dec 72, he debriefed, reported the facts and strongly recommended an immediate KIA status report for Jackson. The MIA to KIA status change evident in the record reflects administrative processing errors at the clerical level -- and in no way reflects any lingering doubt that Skip was deceased upon impact with the ground.

In September 2011, Carl Janssen was in contact with Skip's sister, Paulette. She would be happy to hear from our classmates in writing, and she hopes to attend a reunion and/or visit the Academy Cemetery in the future. Her mailing address is:
Paulette Jackson
PO Box 2095
Taos, NM 87571

Click here to see the entry on the Virtual Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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