Cap, Service, Officer, United States Air Force

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This is an example of a standard issue United States Air Force field and general officer's service cap for the air force tropical weight blue shade 1549 officer's uniform. This style of uniform was introduced in 1967 and phased out of service in 1999.

This cap was worn by the donor, Lt. Col. Joe M. Jackson. Col. Jackson saw extensive service in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam during his career. He joined the Army Air Corps in March 1941 eight months prior to the United States entry into the war. During World War II, he was a crew chief in B-25 bombers but would eventually receive his commission and piloted B-24 Liberators. During the Korean War, he flew 107 combat missions in F-84 Thunderjets and helped to develop many combat tactics with early jet aircraft. In the early 1960s, he became one of the first air force pilots to fly the Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. Jackson career continued and served in his third war f flying C-123 Providers in Vietnam. On May 12, 1968 he was awarded the Medal of Honor during a rescue mission over Kham Duc.

His citation reads:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Lt. Col. Jackson distinguished himself as pilot of a C-123 aircraft. Lt. Col. Jackson volunteered to attempt the rescue of a 3-man USAF Combat Control Team from the Special Forces camp at Kham Duc. Hostile forces had overrun the forward outpost and established gun positions on the airstrip. They were raking the camp with small arms, mortars, light and heavy automatic weapons, and recoilless rifle fire. The camp was engulfed in flames and ammunition dumps were continuously exploding and littering the runway with debris. In addition, eight aircraft had been destroyed by the intense enemy fire and one aircraft remained on the runway reducing its usable length to only 2,200 feet. To further complicate the landing, the weather was deteriorating rapidly, thereby permitting only one air strike prior to his landing. Although fully aware of the extreme danger and likely failure of such an attempt. Lt. Col. Jackson elected to land his aircraft and attempt to rescue. Displaying superb airmanship and extraordinary heroism, he landed his aircraft near the point where the combat control team was reported to be hiding. While on the ground, his aircraft was the target of intense hostile fire. A rocket landed in front of the nose of the aircraft but failed to explode. Once the combat control team was aboard, Lt. Col. Jackson succeeded in getting airborne despite the hostile fire directed across the runway in front of his aircraft. Lt. Col. Jackson's profound concern for his fellow men, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself, and the Armed Forces of his country."