Doc Jackson's Letters Home

A Combat Medic's 1968 Letters from Vietnam

Melanoma Mama, a memoire of health, travel writing and oncology

Private E-1 Jerome Jackson's letters, hurriedly handwritten on muddy paper to his mother from jungles and sandbag bunkers, tell the true, first person, contemporary account of a combat medic, rich with the details of how soldiers survived day to day in a life-threatening landscape. They reveal Doc's rage against the mismanagement of a military fiasco during what Jackson considered a senseless war. The letters were discovered in his mother's estate. Interspersed are related recollections as told from his wheelchair to co-author Constance Emerson Crooker, who adds commentary to give context.
"A Remarkable and Truly Honest Book About War: No heroics nor flag-waving, not even much anti-war grandstanding, just a wrenching day-by-miserable-day report from the front. Medic Doc Jackson witnesses war’s death and destruction, but the book stands out among war stories for its unembellished truth of dirt, lousy food, contaminated water, snakes, spiders, piss-ants, cruel and ignorant officers, perpetual fear, and the horror of being “expendable.” And never enough dry socks! Worried sick about a shaky marriage, endless unpaid bills, a squabbling family, a beloved but failing grandmother, and a baby boy he hardly knows, young Jackson grudgingly serves out his time and comes home pretty much ruined by PTSD and Agent Orange. Doc Jackson’s Letters Home is a testament to raw human courage, the will to persist and survive, even to find grim humor in the absurdity of his fate. A remarkable and truly honest book about war."
-Rebecca Pepper Sinkler
Former editor in chief, The New York Times Book Review
"Fascinating letters from a frontline medic with a need to shield his family from war’s horrors and dangers while relating daily details of army life. Reveals the weight of war on a twenty two year old married father of a toddler, forced to live in the jungle for weeks without a shower, whilst constantly fearing death. His frustrations with poor leadership in a war against a supposed communist menace to all of Southeast Asia shine through. Although the communists won the war, the consequences of the domino theory never came to pass and today Vietnam is a thriving society."
-Peder Bisbjerg, Environmental Engineer
twenty years experience living and working in Vietnam
"A Must Read for Pro-Country-Shaping Politicians: When we were in ’Nam, when talking of home, we called it ‘the world’ because our bizarre existence in what we knew to be a futile war felt like being on another planet. I made my two brothers promise they would not come. The voice of Doc Jackson tells the human cost to our soldiers and the enemy. We came back to society with seen and unseen wounds. This book is a must read for any politician who is thinking of sending young Americans into the carnage of war with the foolish idea of reshaping another country."
-John A Wetteland Jr., A Battery
1/83d ARTY March 1969-May 1970
"Doc Jackson’s letters home were written with incredible honesty and insight that were far beyond his years. His awareness of what he was experiencing was recorded on a daily basis that surpassed great historical writing. It is rare that someone his age at the time of his writing could have such insight. Lying is the most powerful weapon in war, and Doc Jackson’s letters home personified his visceral reaction to a war that turned into madness. As Malcolm X once wrote: ‘The only thing worse than death is betrayal.’ Doc Jackson’s legacy of truth is recorded in his letters sent home—history that would become a treasured time capsule."
-Mike Hastie
Army Medic Vietnam, 1970-71
Copyright © 2015 by Jerome J. Jackson and Constance Emerson Crooker d/b/a JayCee Publishing
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