Flags flying half-staff for Idaho WWII hero

BOISE - Flags are half-staff in Idaho to honor a great American hero who passed away Wednesday evening at the Idaho Veterans Home. Arthur Jackson was one of only four Medal of Honor recipients still living from World World II.

Seven decades ago, Private First Class Arthur Jackson saved his Marine Corp platoon in the Western Pacific single handedly.

It was in September of 1944 on the island of Peleliu. Jackson shared his experience for a video called "Medal of Honor Book."

"When we hit the beach there was about seven feet of water and I looked down the beach in both directions and it was on fire," said Jackson.

He said they were held up on the neck of the peninsula for two weeks with little food or water. His platoon leader asked him if he could get into a trench and go after the enemy.

The mission was one that family friend, Rocci Johnson, says he wasn't expected to survive.

"They said it's a suicide mission and he said just strap me up with all the ammunition possible and jumped out of the fox hole and off he went," said Johnson.

Jackson wiped out 12 concrete dug-in guard posts known as pillboxes. Fifty Japanese soldiers were killed.

"When the troops came up honest to God I felt like I was a ball player who just made the winning touchdown," said Jackson.

It was a success in the battle lasting two months. 1,800 American soldiers didn't make it off the island alive. 

President Harry Truman awarded Jackson with the Congressional Medal of Honor in October 1945. It is the highest and most prestigious personal military decoration.

Jackson passed away at the age of 92. He grew up in Ohio but had lived in Idaho for decades with his wife, Sally, and their family. 

Jackson will always be remembered in Idaho. February 24 is Art Jackson Day. It was a proclamation made in 2016 by Gov. Butch Otter.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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