Arthur Junior “Art” Jackson MOH

b. 18/10/1924 Cleveland, Ohio. d. 14/06/2017 Boise, Idaho.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 18/09/1944 Peleliu Island, Palau Islands.

Arthur J Jackson MOH

Arthur J. Jackson was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 18, 1924. He grew up in Canton, Ohio and moved to Portland, Oregon with his parents in 1939 during the depression, and graduated from Grant High School there. After graduation, he worked in Alaska for a naval construction company until November 1942, when he returned to Portland and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 18.

In January 1943, he began his recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, and soon thereafter joined the 1st Marine Division in Melbourne, Australia in June 1943. On January 13, 1944, while taking part in the Cape Gloucester campaign, he carried a wounded Marine to safety in the face of well-entrenched Japanese troops on the slope of a steep hill, saving the man’s life. For this action, he was awarded a Letter of Commendation.

Following this, while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines as a Private First Class, he took part in the fighting and was wounded on Peleliu — for his heroic actions in that battle, he was awarded the Medal of Honor and was awarded his first Purple Heart. He again went into combat on Okinawa where, as a platoon sergeant with the 1st Marine Division, he was again wounded in action on May 18, 1945. That August, he was commissioned as a Marine second lieutenant.

During ceremonies at the White House on October 5, 1945, President Harry S. Truman presented him with the nation’s highest combat award — the Medal of Honor. Following the war, he served in northern China during the post-war occupation of that country. On his return to the United States, he returned briefly to civilian life, but, shortly after, entered the United States Army Reserve where, in 1954, he reached the rank of captain. Although he served with the army during the Korean War, he returned to the Marine Corps in 1959.

On the night of September 30, 1961, while serving at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, during a night of heavy drinking, Jackson claimed he discovered Rubén López Sabariego, a Cuban bus driver at Guantanamo he suspected was a communist spy, in a restricted area. On his own initiative, he and his executive officer, First Lieutenant William Szili, took López to a long-unused gate with the intention of removing him from the base. When they found the gate locked, Jackson sent Szili to find something to break the lock. When Szili returned, Jackson claimed that López attacked him and that he had to fatally shoot him with his .45 sidearm in self-defense.  Jackson first threw the body over a cliff, then recovered it with Szili’s assistance the next day and buried it in a shallow grave, but word leaked out. When his request for a court-martial to clear his name was denied, Jackson left the Corps in 1962. He remained active in the Army Reserves and eventually retired from that service in 1984. He also worked for the United States Postal Service.

Jackson lived in Boise, Idaho, during his retirement, and died at a hospital there on June 14, 2017, at the age of 92.



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 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 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 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 Pfc. Jackson and the U.S. Naval Service.