November 15, 2014
By Ralph Richberg
Special to the Tribune
Jacob Jacobson has a distinguished military history serving with the United States Army during the Korean conflict and later with the U.S. Special Forces during the Vietnam era.
Jacobson was born and raised in Viroqua, Wisconsin. As a young man he became a merchant seaman in the early 1950s, which was considered an important and essential occupation at that time. After finishing a three year stint as a merchant seaman, Jacobson returned home to Viroqua only to be promptly drafted into the United States Army. He completed both his basic training and combat engineering training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri before being sent to Korea the latter half of 1954.
Jacobson stated that the Korean Armistice Agreement had just been signed ending the Korean War. Nevertheless, he was shipped overseas and his first tour lasted for 16 months. During this timeframe he met a young Korean woman, who became his fiancée and eventually his wife. However, the necessary Army paperwork was not completed in a timely manner and his first tour ended. Jacobson temporarily returned home to re-enlist in the army for another 16 month tour of duty, which was later extended an additional six months before all documentation had been officially processed, approved and signed by the military.
Jacobson finally returned home to the United States with his new bride in December, 1957 and was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He stated that his oldest daughter was born in June, 1958 and his youngest daughter was born in June, 1962. Jacobson was accepted into the United States Army Special forces in 1962 and completed a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1962 working as a radio repairman in the American embassy in Saigon. He also completed a second tour as a radio operator approximately 100 miles northwest of Saigon in 1964. Both missions were highly classified, he said.
Jacobson joined the army national guard in 1972 and served on active duty status until 1984, completing 22 years of active service to his country. He then served in the army reserves until 1991 when he finally retired from the military at the age of 60.
Jacobson also was successful in the private business sector working as a customer engineer for IBM. He said he had qualified for the position based on his previous radio combat training in the Army. Jacobson reached his 30 year service anniversary with IBM in 1960 and retired. However, he continued to work for IBM in a part-time capacity for two more years in Des Moines, Iowa before moving to Kansas City in 1994.
Jacobson remains active in the community. He is a key supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and continues to participate in scout activities with Boy Scout Troop 220 from time to time by attending campouts and offering advice on survival training, outdoor cooking and rifle range training. He proudly stated that his Mic-O-Say name is Fish Eagle.