Douglas Thomas Jacobson – Major, United States Marine Corps

From contemporary press reports:

Douglas T. Jacobson, 74, a retired U.S. Marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for bravery, for his valor on Iwo Jima during World War II, died September 10, 2000 in North Port, Florida. The cause of death was not reported.

He received the honor in 1945 for his service as a private first class during the battle. He later received his officer’s commission and served in the Korean and Vietnam wars before retiring from active duty as a Major.

President Harry Truman said Major Douglas T. Jacobson was a brave man and the men he served with during World War II agreed. For his bravery, Jacobson was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945 after being wounded on Iwo Jima.

Jacobson, 74, of North Port, died Sunday.

“He was one of the organizers of the Marine Corps League here in Charlotte County and served as the first commandant,” Clyde Prier said. “He was a good friend and just a common, ordinary guy. He never flaunted his medals. We all knew he had them, but he never used them.”

There are only about three Medal of Honor recipients in Florida, according to Prier.

Jacobson retired after serving 25 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He saw duty across the world in World War II, the Korean Conflict and in Vietnam.

“We got married in 1962 in Camp LeJeune. Soon after that, I went to California and he went to Vietnam for a year,” said his wife, Joan.

After Jacobson retired, he came to Punta Gorda to live. In the mid-1990s he moved to Fort Myers, and last year he moved to North Port. In 1993, he was chosen as grand marshal of the Punta Gorda Elks Americanism Parade.

During the memorial service Thursday, an honor guard from American Legion Post 11 in Arcadia officiated. “He was a good and kind man. I appreciate the gift of friendship,” said Ron York, the chaplain at Post 11.

“We have officiated for at least 100 funerals for veterans and when I heard about the passing of Major “Jake,” I had to sit down and put a few words on paper to share my thoughts,” said Roger Bumgarner. “I never met a man that I thought more of. His strength and wisdom were a joy to all who knew him.”

The chapel was crowded with Marine Corps League members, friends and family. On a table at the front was a flag made of flowers, a photo of Jacobson shaking hands with President John Kennedy, another picture of him receiving the Medal of Honor from President Truman and a selection of pictures of him from throughout his life.

Next to the table stood a wreath; and on the other side, a large portrait of him in uniform.

At the end of the service, the honor guard performed the folding of the colors ceremony and presented the folded American flag to his wife. As she left the chapel, she stopped to thank the representatives of the Marine Corps League and American Legion Post 11, standing at attention in a double line. “Thanks, it was a beautiful service, Doug would have loved it.”

Other survivors include his daughters, Kathryn (and husband, Craig) Cheeseman and Joanne Jacobson, both of Punta Gorda, and Barbara (and husband, Jerry) Brenard of Lawrenceville, N.J.; two grandchildren, Carolyn and Kathleen Capone of Maple Shade, N.J.

“He was always available to go anywhere to talk to veterans groups,” Joan said. “He traveled all over the United States, speaking at legion posts and VFW posts. Roger (Bumgarner) was a good friend and when he wanted something, all he would have to do was ask and Doug would go.

“Doug was a great reader, at least four or five books a week. I got to know the library in North Port very well,” she added. “He was quite a golfer too. He started playing when he was 10 years old and played ever since.”

Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. Memorial donations may be made to American Heart Association, 3612 Evans Ave., Fort Myers, Florida 33901.



Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 3d Battalion, 23d Marines, 4th Marine Division. Place and date: Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 26 February 1945. Entered service at: New York. Born: 25 November 1925, Rochester, N.Y.


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 3d Battalion, 23d Marines, 4th Marine Division, in combat against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Island, 26 February 1945. Promptly destroying a stubborn 20mm. antiaircraft gun and its crew after assuming the duties of a bazooka man who had been killed, Pfc. Jacobson waged a relentless battle as his unit fought desperately toward the summit of Hill 382 in an effort to penetrate the heart of Japanese cross-island defense. Employing his weapon with ready accuracy when his platoon was halted by overwhelming enemy fire on 26 February, he first destroyed two hostile machinegun positions, then attacked a large blockhouse, completely neutralizing the fortification before dispatching the 5-man crew of a second pillbox and exploding the installation with a terrific demolitions blast. Moving steadily forward, he wiped out an earth-covered rifle emplacement and, confronted by a cluster of similar emplacements which constituted the perimeter of enemy defenses in his assigned sector, fearlessly advanced, quickly reduced all six positions to a shambles, killed ten of the enemy, and enabled our forces to occupy the strong point. Determined to widen the breach thus forced, he volunteered his services to an adjacent assault company, neutralized a pillbox holding up its advance, opened fire on a Japanese tank pouring a steady stream of bullets on one of our supporting tanks, and smashed the enemy tank’s gun turret in a brief but furious action culminating in a single-handed assault against still another blockhouse and the subsequent neutralization of its firepower. By his dauntless skill and valor, Pfc. Jacobson destroyed a total of sixteen enemy positions and annihilated approximately 75 Japanese, thereby contributing essentially to the success of his division’s operations against this fanatically defended outpost of the Japanese Empire. His gallant conduct in the face of tremendous odds enhanced and sustained the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


Photo Courtesy of the United States Army

DATE OF BIRTH: 11/25/1925
DATE OF DEATH: 08/20/2000

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