Name: Carl Edwin Jackson
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 1st Flight Detachment, MACV-SOG 1131st Special Activities Squadron,
Date of Birth: 28 January 1930
Home City of Record: Natchitoches LA
Date of Loss: 27 June 1965
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
Carl Edwin Jackson is on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Panel 02E Line 021 .
Loss Coordinates noted by the USG at time of loss: 101307N 1064405E (XT990095)
Loss Coordinates suspected by JTF-FA in 1998: 48P YT 02830 04566, near the
village of Xom Long Dinh
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: C123 [vehicle number not listed in USG downed aircraft
Missions: Accumulated 4200 hours of flying time throughout his career in the
Air Force, prior to his shootdown.
Other Personnel In Incident: Billie L. Roth, only other missing American --
14 more were "Chinese Nationalists."
Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S.
Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published
sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK with material provided by
Alan Jackson, Carl Jackson's son, in 1998. Updated 2003.
REMARKS: MID-AIR EXPLODE NE SAIGON-J [family conversations with former CIA
personnel contradict this USG statement]
SYNOPSIS: The Fairchild C123 "Provider" was a night attack system/transport
aircraft based on an all-metal glider designed by Chase Aircraft. The
airplane's C123B prototype first flew on September 1, 1954. The C123B, in
the hands of a group of airmen who called themselves "The Mule Train" became
the first transport to see Vietnam service. The C123B transports were soon
joined by UC123Bs of the now-controversial Project Ranch Hand which sprayed
pesticides and herbicides over Vietnam, including Agent Orange.
The Provider, particularly in camouflage paint with mottled topside and
light bottomside, resembled an arched-back whale suspended from the bottom
midpoint of huge dorsal wings. Like other transports, the Provider proved
its versatility during the Vietnam war. The C123 also dispensed flares to
illuminate targets for fighters or tactical bombers, and were dubbed
"Candlestick" when they served in this capacity.
The MACV-SOG personnel in this incident were commanded directly out of the
Pentagon by JCS. One was not just assigned to this detachment, but rather
interviewed for it at the Pentagon, so the work was extraordinary even
applying Air Commando standards.
The aircraft had no standard markings on it, but were painted with a unique
camo pattern of low-reflectivity black, green and brown paint. The aircraft
was rigged with pylons on it. Runways were often replaced by landing on very
wide roads. The 1131st flew only at night. They operated in a shroud of
secrecy, no reports, no tail numbers due to MACV-SOG. All aircraf were
sanitized as well as the nationality and individuality of those on board.
The idea was "just make it happen."
Capt. Carl E. Jackson enlisted in the Air Force in 1957 for two years. He
re-enlisted in the Air Force Researve, active duty in 1960. He was one of
the elite chosen to work with MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Studies and Observation Group). MACV-SOG was a joint service high command
unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations
throughout Southeast Asia.
Capt. Jackson flew the C123 Provider in Vietnam. SSgt. Billie L. "Sam" Roth
was on stand-by as a C123 cargo master, the night he was assigned to fly
with Jackson. Jackson, Roth, and 14 "Chinese Nationalists" were on board the
night the flight was reported downed. The co-pilot as well was Chinese. DoD
de-classified this information in the mid '90s.
The family of Captain Jackson was told that on Sunday evening, word had it
that Nha Trang was about to be under rocket and mortor attack. Jackson and
his commanding officer headed for the jeep. Jackson dropped off his C/O at
one aircraft and drove to his own. Apparently, the destination was Ton Son
Nhut air base.
June 27, 1965, while on final approach, Jackson's C123 started receiving
ground-fire and subsequently crashed. Rescue crews arrived at the scene and
found that there were no survivors. The FBI was brought in to fingerprint
all on board however, and none of the bodies could be identified as Capt.
Carl E. Jackson, USAF.
Throughout the years, the U.S. government has still not positively located
his crash site. There have been at least two sites that cooralated with his
flight. Further investigation of both sites proved negative results. It has
been rumored that his aircraft was flying somewhere near North Vietnam and
that his C123 did take ground fire and crash. No one knew for sure whether
or not anyone survived. The aircraft supposedly crashed north of "Thud
Over the years, the Jackson family and the Roth family have personally
met to discuss the events. They have shared personal information with each
other as well.
On May 16th 1968, Chanute Air Force Base located in Illinios, dedicated
a building to Capt. Carl E. Jackson, the first casualty from Chanute in
Vietnam. The building was called, "Jackson Hall."
A loving tribute to Carl Jackson can be found on the Internet at
http://www.shreve.net/~skydive. Many family photos are posted.
Man remembers father killed in Vietnam
Kym Klass / The Times
Posted on September 21, 2003
Dear Alan, Do you like your robe? Are you being a sweet man for Mom? You
know, you have to be the man-of-the-house while Dad is away, so be big and
The letter was dated May 30, 1965. Alan Jackson's father, Capt. Carl Edwin
Jackson, left for the Vietnam War 15 days before that. This would be the
only letter Alan Jackson received from his father. The day the Air Force
pilot who flew C-123 transports left for Vietnam was the last day Alan
Jackson saw his father.
The last letter. The last day. Huge "lasts" for a 6-year-old.
Bossier City's Alan Jackson holds on to one of the last memories he has of
his father. It was a windy day in Illinois when the two of them flew a kite
The kite string broke and Alan Jackson remembers his father jumping on
another of his children's bikes to chase the kite.
"I don't remember if he even caught it," Alan Jackson said, while staring at
the Moving Wall in front of the Bossier City Civic Center. The wall is
three-fourths the size of The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington,
D.C., a place Alan Jackson has visited annually since 1985. It's the place
where he began placing two white roses under his father's name: one rose for
his mother, the other for his dad. He did the same thing Saturday.
I miss you, son, and I'll be home as soon as I can.
There are speculations to what happened to Alan Jackson's father, who is
considered killed (with a June 27, 1965 casualty date), although his body
has never been recovered. Alan Jackson said that while his father was in the
Air Force, he worked for the CIA on covert missions.
The first speculation, Alan Jackson said, is that on his final approach to
Ton Son Nhut Air Base, his father's airplane was shot down and nose-dived
into the ground. The second, he said, is that the plane belly-landed in a
river in South Vietnam. He was told there were two sets of footprints
leaving the area.
The last speculation, Alan Jackson said, came from a December 1966 "bright
light raid" conducted at a prisoner-of-war camp in Cambodia. It was
reportedly being done to rescue a man with the last name Jackson. The man
was never found, although Alan Jackson said several Americans were killed in
Alan Jackson still can't look at the Memorial wall without becoming
emotional. So many names, he says. So many faces.
When he looks at it, he thinks of "pain. I see people there. I feel pain for
myself; there's a lot of hurt. A lot of people just see a lot of names up
there, but there's a face to each name.
"There's a lot of heroes, and not a one was wasted," he added. "A lot of
people think Vietnam was a waste, but it was a just cause, in my opinion."
While the Jackson family doesn't have a cemetery at which to visit Carl
Jackson, and while they touch a wall symbolizing his duty to his country to
remember him, Alan Jackson has some possessions at home. About once or twice
a year, he takes out a footlocker with his father's uniforms, pictures,
letters. He said his father wrote his mother (who died in June 1989) three
to four times daily. Copies of letters are placed in protective coverings
and saved in a three-ring binder.
I swim at the beach almost every day and I wish I had you to play on the
beach with me.
Carl Jackson's wife received a telegram June 28, 1965, that her husband was
On July 4, 1965, she was notified that he had been killed in action.
"At times, it's very hard not knowing because I don't have that closure,"
Alan Jackson said. "His (commanding officer) has given us three different
stories and they contradict each other and that's the problem.
"I know that he's at peace; I know that he's in Heaven. My goal is to have
him flown home and buried next to my mother."
To help him feel his father died for a reason, Alan Jackson reads from a
letter his father wrote to his mother. It "helps me deal with his name up
there." In part, it says:
I work every Sunday and can't attend church. Our work is helping to
guarantee freedom to exist and worship as man desires, so we all will
occasionally make a few concessions or sacrifices. And it sometimes makes
you feel that your sacrifice is worthwhile when a store owner or restaurant
owner tells you that he would have no business if it weren't for the U.S.
military keeping the VC in the hills. It is a hard task and it sometimes
looks futile, but it must be done. Communism can't be allowed to envelop the
globe. And so much hinges upon our success or failure in S.E. Asia.
He would sign letters to his wife: Love, me ... Your husband ... All my
"I like to touch people's hearts ... not their heads, but their hearts,"
Alan Jackson said. "I wish I could just have one day. I'll see him one day."
Alan Jackson doesn't remember what his father's voice sounded like. But he
keeps hold of the words.
Be sweet and don't make mom fuss at you - O.K.?
Never again shall one generation of veterans abandon another.