Called a hero by his former Task Force commander and later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, 1st Lt. W. Bryan Jackson’s utter disregard for his own well-being likely saved the life of a fellow soldier, while jeopardizing his own.
Deeply involved in combat operations on September 27, 2006 in Anbar province, Iraq, Jackson attempted to recover a disabled vehicle when his unit was attacked by a hail of enemy machine gun fire, wounding several. Instead of seeking cover, he rushed to the aid of his injured first sergeant and began life-saving first aid.
An insurgent’s bullet ripped through his thigh, but did not take Jackson out of the fight. Regaining consciousness after the initial shock of the injury, Jackson’s first thought was about his severely wounded comrade. He alternated between returning fire on the suspected enemy position and administering first aid to his compatriot with life-threatening wounds. Ignoring his own severe injuries and relying on his tenacity and strength, Jackson carried his first sergeant to a Bradley Fighting Vehicle 30 feet away for evacuation. Even as he was hit a second time by enemy fire, Jackson never faltered in his aid. Once clear of the engagement and despite the severity of his own injuries, Jackson still refused medical aid until the man he helped save was treated.
The first words from Jackson after undergoing emergency medical evacuation and the first of several surgeries to come were of concern for the man he saved. For his injuries, his selfless courage under extreme enemy fire and extraordinary heroism in action, Jackson was awarded both the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross, becoming only the seventh soldier since