7/17/2005 - Corsicana's Jimmie Jackson Jr. Branded Brigadier General
New brigadier general Jimmie C. Jackson, Jr. has his single star for each shoulder pinned on by his father Jimmie Sr. and wife Leigh during his promotion ceremony June 1. Courtesy photo/McGuire Air Force Base
By LOYD COOK
Daily Sun Staff
It’s been a three-decade trek through life and career for Jimmie C. Jackson Jr., a1972 graduate of Corsicana. An ROTC cadet at Texas A&M, Jackson spent the career portion of his life to date in the U.S. Air Force.
Across the changing of the scenario, this command pilot advanced onward and upward.
Last month, that climb reached a new pinnacle, one few reach anywhere, much less a military brat with familial roots in Navarro County.
Jimmie Jr. got his star. He’s now Brigadier General Jimmie C. Jackson Jr., in charge of one of the most important USAF air transport wings on the planet.
“I’m still pinching myself,” Jackson said Wednesday afternoon during a phone interview from his office at McGuire Air Force Base. “It’s a great honor and it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.”
Jimmie Sr., himself a USAF man (he retired as a Master Sergeant), was understandably proud of his son as he brought in photos this week. He said the
June 1 promotion ceremony was a milestone he will never forget.
His son won’t have too much time to rest on his laurels ... or onto his star, either.
Jimmie Jr. said now that he is a general, he has three years to get his second star or he is required to retire.
He’s not worried about that clock right now. Jackson had been on the general’s promotion list since 2001. He has 28 years of military service. As a full colonel, had he made it to 30 years without attaining the rank of brigadier general, Jackson would have been forced to retire then as well.
Now, he’s assured of serving through his 31st USAF year.
“I’m going to be real content with what I have now and anything else the Air Force has for me to do, I’ll be happy to take it on,” he said. “I’ll be in the Air Force until they tell me to go.”
So far, the USAF has found more and more things for Jackson to do, with each succeeding assignment carrying more responsibility than the one before.
He was a distinguished graduate of the TAMU ROTC program in 1977.
Jackson earned his wings in February 1978 and went on to attend the C-130 Replacement Training Unit at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. His first assignment in the Air Force was, to say the least, one that occupied much of his thoughts.
The new pilot found himself flying “Hurricane Hunters,” planes that flew into the mightiest of ocean storms as a part of efforts to research its causes. He was a WC-
130 copilot, instructor pilot and assistant operations officer in the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base.
In 1982, he attended Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB in Alabama. In ’88, he earned his Master’s of Science degree in personnel supervision and management from Troy State. That year he also graduated from the Academic Instructor School at Maxwell.
He added a second Master of Science degree in 1994, this time in national security strategy with the degree conferred by the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C.
For three years starting in the spring of 1984, Jackson was a C-130 tactical aircraft commander, wing executive officer chief of flight safety and director of current operations for the 21st Tactical Airlift Squadron and the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing at Clark AFB in the Philippines.
By June 1994, and after several staff and planning positions along the way to augment his flying duties and experience, Gen. Jackson was assigned to his first major command, taking over the operation of the 623rd Air Mobility Support Squadron at Ramstein AFB in Germany. It was a command he held for almost two years.
He moved on for an six-month stint in Washington, D.C. as the deputy assistant director of Force Programming for the USAF before another large command assignment, this one back home in Texas. Jackson was given command of the 317th Airlift Group at Dyess AFB in West Texas.
After a one-year stay in his home state, Jackson spent three years split between the nation’s capitol and Scott AFB in Illinois in various executive staff positions — including a stint as deputy chief of staff of air and space operations at the Pentagon.
Then, in 2003, came his latest, present command heading up the 305th Air Mobility Wing and as installation commander at McGuire AFB in New Jersey.
“It was a posting that called for a senior colonel under consideration for a star,” Jackson said this week. “The Air Force trained me the right way ... each command has been a progression, each one a building block for the next.”
It proved true for the CHS grad. His two years in charge of the 10,000 active-duty, Guard and Reserve Air Force members, as well as a civilian work force exceeding 1,700, paid off with the top level of promotion in the military.
Jackson said he knew how much the promotion means to his father as well as himself.
It’s the latest in what is becoming a family tradition of military service.
“It’s been my honor to serve my nation,” Brigadier Gen. Jackson said. “I come from good stock; my Dad served in the Air Force and my son’s in the Army.
“It’s just in our blood.”
Today, that service shows up on each shoulder of his uniform ... each sporting a single, matching star.
Loyd Cook may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected]
Reprinted with permission of the Corsicana Daily Sun
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