CPT Earl L. Jackson
84th Infantry Division, 334th Infantry Regiment, Co C
Killed in Action 23 February, 1945
After crossing the Roer River, Germany
-- Shirley Jackson McKinney --
My dad, Capt. Jack, as his men referred to him, was killed just after the Crossing of the Roer River in Germany.
On 9/15/1913, Earl L Jackson was the second son born to Doss and Ida Tope Jackson in Makanda, IL. His dad passed away
at an early age and his mother raised six children of her own, plus some stepchildren. She was a "GOLD STAR" mom, having
lost a son, stepson, and son-in-law to World War II.
Dad married my mom, Geneva Daniels in 1931. I was born in 1937, the third and youngest child of their marriage. I have no
memories of my dad before he was a soldier. Because my sister and brother were older, they remember more of him before and
after he became a soldier. I always envied them of their memories of our dad. They were old enough to write and receive
letters from him while he was overseas. Most of my memories consist of a soldier my mom and I visited while he was stationed
in the States. I was under school age and was privileged to travel with my mom to the various bases where he was stationed
while my sister and brother remained with grandmothers. I had to reacquaint myself with him each visit since those visits were
so far apart.
Dad's Military career began as a full time adjutant in the Illinois National Guard. I recall times he took me to the Armory
with him and let me play around his office. He entered the Army in 1941. During his leaves and our visits with him he always
helped me search his duffel bag for his garrison cap and then placed it on my head. On one of his leaves before he was
shipped overseas he visited school one entire day with each of his three children. Each of us had our own school day with our
dad. I was in the first grade and recall how very proud I was of walking to school with my dad in his full military uniform.
He sat in the back of the classroom the whole day observing my class work. That day was probably my last memory of seeing my
I was 8 years old when my family received the news of his death. I don't recall the moment it was delivered, but I do recall
my sister and brother who were ages 13 and 12 being so sad and crying. It was much later when I realized he was gone forever.
I missed not having my dad around while growing up. His picture always had its place on our living room wall and so many
times I talked to that picture and told him how much I missed and needed him.
"I still miss you daddy. I am so proud of you and I know you would be so proud of your three children and all your
grandchildren. The following are some things we know about you: You were awarded the Bronze Star for Valor before you were
killed, which would be your most prestigious decoration. Next would be the Purple Heart, which was awarded upon your death.
If you had survived, you would have been awarded other lesser decorations such as the WWII Victory Medal, the European Service
Medal and probably some others. Before your death you were awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, which is a very prestigious
badge and is presented to all Infantrymen engaged in combat with a hostile enemy force. In one of your letters written to your
mom you told her about the Combat Infantryman Badge that you were so proud of. You probably were not aware of your Bronze Star
due to it being awarded for some action shortly before your death.
I learned from men you served with how fair you were, how you were so well respected and how you grieved while writing those
families of the fallen under your command. I know how you wished to be buried in a National Cemetery upon your death. I also
know how you would have wanted the best for your mom. She wanted you buried in her family plot and that is why your body was
moved from the Netherlands American Cemetery in the village of Margraten to her family plot in Illinois. I know you loved your
country and your family. I feel your presence each time I see our American Flag waving in the wind, at every parade and each time
I hear one of your favorite war tunes: "I'll be seeing you" and "White Cliffs of Dover." I know it would please you to see our
flag fly proudly in your honor on Veteran's Day, Father's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Flag Day.
Your family will never forget you and you will live on through your children and grandchildren in this wonderful United States
of America which you served and for which you paid the ultimate price. I know how proud you would be to have this tribute to your
courage included along with all these other courageous dads who also paid with their lives."