For the Miami Valley Today
CINCINNATI — Tipp City council member Mike Jackson was recently honored by the USO Tribute Cincinnati for a lifetime of service to his country and his community. A Tipp City native and 1968 graduate of Ohio University, Jackson served 23 years in the United States Air Force.
A Vietnam Veteran, then Captain Jackson flew 210 combat missions over Southeast Asia as a Forward Air Controller. In May of 1972, he flew his lightly armed reconnaissance aircraft in support of a unit of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, which was in violent conflict with a numerically superior Vietcong force. Despite intense ground fire and marginal weather conditions, Captain Jackson directed tactical air strikes onto the hostile positions which broke the conflict and resulted heavy enemy loses to equipment, munitions, and personnel. For his actions, Captain Jackson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He also earned a Purple Heart, nine additional Air Medals, and 12 additional awards and decorations during his years of service.
In civilian life, Jackson has continued to serve. From 1992 to 2005, Jackson was executive director of the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
In 2004, he published his first book, “Naked in Da Nang,” an upbeat and inspiring memoir of his time in Vietnam. His book inspired the Operation Welcome Home celebrations, welcoming home veterans of the Vietnam War and veterans of all eras, which grew into four national and 36 local and regional events across the nation.
Jackson also served nine years as chairman of the American Veterans Institute in Tipp City, a 501 (c) (3) established to honor veterans and help them understand and apply for Veterans Administration Benefits.
Jackson was honored Sept. 5 at the 18th Annual USO Tribute Cincinnati “Tribute to Our Troops” held at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse in Cincinnati.
Annually, USO Tribute Cincinnati honors extraordinary veteran, active duty, and reserve military men, women, and their families while raising funds which provide vital programs and services for the USO to ensure that the physical and emotional needs of service members and their families are met with honor and dignity. Over the last 18 years, Cincinnati businesses and citizens have donated $7.9 million to support U.S. military service members and their families.