MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - -- On Feb. 21, 2005, Sergeant Chadd E. Jackson and his six-man crew were in charge of securing all six lanes of a ten-mile stretch of highway along a main supply route in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. The seven Marines from the 2nd Marine Division’s 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion were responsible for keeping the highway free of insurgents and improvised explosive devices. After completing their grueling 24-hour shift, Jackson and his crew were returning to their base camp when an IED exploded next to their light armored vehicle.
Jackson, a 32-year-old native of Tyler, Texas, was awarded the Purple Heart May 23 for wounds received in action in February while stationed at Camp Fallujah, Iraq with 1st Platoon, Company A.
“I remember a fireball and extreme pain, but no blood. As the LAV commander, my main concern was with my crew and whether or not any of them were hit,” said Jackson.
An IED had detonated next to Jackson’s LAV, sending shrapnel into his forearm and disabling his vehicle along with its primary means of defense.
“All four tires on one side were blown out and our main gun was destroyed. A piece of shrapnel also hit the engine causing an oil leak,” said Jackson.
According to Jackson, it was easy to determine who was responsible for the attack.
“The locals, mostly farmers and sheep herders, are very complacent when it comes to IEDs. Explosions happen on such a regular basis that they hardly show any reaction. It was easy to spot the three individuals running from the scene,” said Jackson.
With numerous pedestrians in his line of fire, Jackson was unable to get a clear shot. A four-man scout team was sent into the nearby town to locate the insurgents. Unfortunately, they returned empty handed.
“The IED, which was larger than the most, was probably set off using a makeshift radio device,” said Jackson.
After calling in his own ground medevac, Jackson was taken to Bravo Company’s BAS where he called his mother and did his own casualty notification.
Less than three weeks later, Jackson was back in the United States for surgery to repair his median and radial nerve. It was performed at the Cape Fear Hospital in Wilmington, N.C.
“I’m currently doing rehab two to three times a week to regain some of the feeling back in my hand. As soon as this cast comes off, I will begin rehab from my elbow down,” said Jackson.
Once Jackson is fully recovered, he has orders to the School of Infantry East at Camp Geiger, N.C.
“With this being my second deployment to Iraq, I should have some good stories to share with the students. Hopefully, my real wartime experiences will give them a good idea of what lies ahead in their near future,” said Jackson.
After 11 years of faithful service, Jackson has decided to make a career of the Corps. Upon fulfilling his duties as a combat instructor, Jackson will return to 2nd LAR and prepare for his fifth overseas deployment.