Joseph M. Jackson grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as one of six children where he enjoyed climbing on roofs and shop class. After graduating high school in January 1943, he briefly worked at a desk job at a local shipbuilding company. While there, Jackson decided that he disliked desk work and looked forward to being drafted.
The Army Air Forces drafted Jackson later that year and placed him in the Army Air Forces. Jackson completed basic training at the Miami Army Airfield, now Miami International Airport, in Miami, Florida, from July 1943 to March 1944. He originally wanted to be an air cadet but he did not pass the coordination test. The Army Air Forces sent him to gunnery school in Harlingen, Texas, instead.
Jackson arrived in the United Kingdom after further training in Nevada in July 1944. He soon began taking part in bombing missions over Germany.
Jackson flew 33 combat missions. The Army Air Forces wanted crews to fly 35 missions. However, by the time he flew his 33rd mission, the Army Air Forces deemed the last two missions unnecessary because the German air force was so worn down. Jackson’s most memorable mission was a bombing mission over Berlin along with 1,000 other aircraft.
He received an honorable discharge at the rank of staff sergeant Nov. 2, 1945. During Jackson’s service, the Army Air Forces awarded him the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters.
Jackson passed away in February 2013
We honor his service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.