Fact Check: Air Force Colonel Joe Jackson Did NOT Die In 2020 Ignored -- He Died in 2019 Remembered By Hometown, Dept. of Defense

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Air Force Colonel Joe Jackson Did NOT Die In 2020 Ignored -- He Died in 2019 Remembered By Hometown, Dept. of Defense Passed in 2019

Did Air Force Col. Joe Jackson die in 2020 with his death ignored by the public and media? No, that's not true: He died on January 12, 2019, according to multiple sources including the obituary from Jackson's hometown newspaper, The Washington Post, the Department of Defense website and an article in the Air Force Times.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post on October 8, 2020. The post read:

This is Colonel Joe Jackson. After surviving WWII & Korea he landed a C-123 behind enemy lines under intense fire to rescue a three man Air Combat Control Team. He passed yesterday & there was NO mention of him. PLEASE SHARE

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Dec 15 16:56:23 2021 UTC)

Jackson was a native of Newnan, Georgia. When he died in 2019, the local paper there published his obituary with the headline "Col. Joe Jackson, Medal of Honor hero, dies in Washington state." His death and aviation career also was written about in The Washington Post on January 19, 2019.

The U.S. Department of Defense posted a "Medal of Honor Monday" about Jackson on the Department of Defense website in February 2019. The opening statement of the feature read:

Air Force Col. Joe Jackson earned the nation's highest honor by rescuing three men in Vietnam in 1968, and he became a living example of military valor for 50 years after that. Unfortunately, he passed away Jan. 12 at age 95. But his story -- and the famous photograph that goes with it -- will live on in military pilot lore for decades to come.

Air Force Times wrote an article on January 14, 2019, titled, "Air Force legend, Medal of Honor recipient, Joe Jackson dies at 95."

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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