USS North Carolina Welcomes Medal of Honor Recipient Onboard

Retired U.S. Army colonel, Vietnam War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, Jack Howard Jacobs, and a group of distinguished guests who are in Hawaii for the National Medal of Honor Convention, visited the Virginia-class submarine USS North Carolina (SSN 777) for a tour Oct. 5 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“It’s was an absolute honor to be able to show a true American hero around the boat, and talk to him about what the submarine force does and how we contribute to our country’s missions,” said Cmdr. Richard G. Rinehart, USS North Carolina commanding officer. “The crew came together. They understood the importance of this opportunity to show this group around, and they enjoyed the chance to show them a little about the submarine force and what we do.”

During the tour, the crew of North Carolina explained the difference between Virginia-class submarines and other submarines, submerging and surfacing systems, and basic day-to-day operations on board.

“Coming aboard a ship with the capability of the North Carolina is awe inspiring to me,” said Jacobs. “It’s hard to believe that only 150 Sailors can control this kind of firepower, and the projection of power around the globe. We are all very lucky to have the North Carolina on our side.”

During a battle on March 9, 1968, with the Viet Cong in Kien Phong Province in the Republic of Vietnam, Jacobs, then a 1st Lieutenant, assumed command of an allied company when his command group including his commanding officer took heavy casualties. He ordered a withdrawal from their exposed position and established a defensive perimeter.

His Medal of Honor citation goes on to state, “Despite profuse bleeding from head wounds which impaired his vision, Capt. Jacobs, with complete disregard for his safety, returned under intense fire to evacuate a seriously wounded advisor to the safety of a wooded area where he administered lifesaving first aid. He then returned through heavy automatic weapons fire to evacuate the wounded company commander.

Capt. Jacobs made repeated trips across the fire-swept open rice paddies evacuating wounded and their weapons. On three separate occasions, Capt. Jacobs contacted and drove off Viet Cong squads who were searching for allied wounded and weapons, single-handedly killing three and wounding several others. His gallant actions and extraordinary heroism saved the lives of one U.S. advisor and 13 allied soldiers. Through his effort the allied company was restored to an effective fighting unit and prevented defeat of the friendly forces by a strong and determined enemy.”

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Jacobs also received two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts.

Jacobs, a military analyst with the cable news and information channel, MSNBC, continues to maintain involvement in several military-related organizations.

He is the vice chairman of the Medal of Honor Foundation, a member of the board of trustees for the National World War II Museum and holds the McDermott Chair of Politics at the U.S. Military Academy

Following the tour, Jacobs spoke about the crew.

“To see a ship where everyone is a well-oiled part of a very sophisticated machine and to recognize that they all work together in such a integrated and sophisticated way gives me a great deal of confidence,” said Jacobs.

Measuring 377 feet long and weighing 7,800 tons when submerged, North Carolina is one of the Navy’s next generation attack submarines.

North Carolina is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, special warfare delivery and support, mine delivery and mine mapping. With enhanced communications connectivity, the submarine will also provide important battle group and joint task force support, with full integration into carrier battle group operations.

Naval Today Staff, October 09, 2012