Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Coalgate, Okla., birthplace of Col. Jack Dempsey, 2 June 1921-26 March 1967


Colonel (Infantry), U.S. Army

13th Combat Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade,

Date of Action: March 26, 1967

HQ US Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 1633 (April 12, 1967)


The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Jack Taylor Dempsey, Colonel (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with 13th Combat Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade.

Colonel Dempsey distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 26 March 1967 while flying in support of an airmobile assault near Tam Binh.

As Commander of the 13th Aviation Battalion, Colonel Dempsey was observing the progress of one of his units conducting an airlift of Vietnamese troops into a besieged landing zone. Enemy fire around the ravaged area was devastating, and one of the troop helicopters was shot down during the first lift. As a medevac aircraft attempted to effect a rescue, it was also hit and crashed. Unmindful of the extreme dangers, Colonel Dempsey dauntlessly chose to go to the aid of the downed crews himself. He radioed for gunships to provide support and, disregarding the advise of his mission commander, started the treacherous approach. Flying under the cover of an air strike, Colonel Dempsey fearlessly ordered his pilot to dive through the hail of Viet Cong bullets.

Despite the hostile fire that was hitting the helicopter, he would not be deterred from his mission. Even when the downed crews waved him off, Colonel Dempsey ignored their warning and flew on into the landing zone. In this gallant effort to save his men, he was fatally wounded when hostile fire raked the helicopter just before landing.

His unimpeachable valor and profound concern for the welfare of others will serve as a source of lasting inspiration to all those who knew him. Colonel Dempsey's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

When a 2LT during World War II, Dempsey was awarded the Silver Star Medal for actions with the 83rd Infantry Division in France.

Jack Taylor Dempsey

Silver Star


Service: Army

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Division: 83d Infantry Division

Headquarters, 83d Infantry Division, General Orders No. 17 (1944)

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Second Lieutenant (Infantry) Jack Taylor Dempsey (ASN: 0-37816/0-527788), United States Army, for gallantry in action while serving with Anti-Tank Company, *** Infantry Regiment, 83d Infantry Division, in action on 5 July 1944, near *****, France. Second Lieutenant Dempsey was given the mission of preventing the enemy from blowing up a bridge. Through reconnaissance he discovered that the bridge was surrounded by enemy snipers. Disregarding his own personal safety, he proceeded alone under heavy enemy small arms fire, crawling approximately 400 yards over open country and swamp land. Near the bridge he was seriously wounded in the face by an enemy hand grenade. Despite his wounds he directed effective rifle fire against the enemy and then safely returned to his lines, bringing valuable information. Second Lieutenant Dempsey's coolness under fire, his devotion to duty, and his disregard for personal safety reflect great credit upon himself and the finest traditions of the military service.

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