Valor in Person
If Not Now, When? by COL Jack Jacobs, USA (Ret.) (Berkley)
Reviewed by MG David R. Bockel, USA (Ret.) vestment banking. Using his “yidishe kop,” he was involved
in the start-up of some major financial ventures.
he title of Jack Jacobs’ autobiography, If Not Now, Like every other Medal of Honor recipient I have met,
When?, is a quote from the Jewish scholar and phi- COL Jacobs is gracious, kind, and humble. Not once in this
losopher Hillel. Perhaps, more appropriately, the title book does he write any John Wayne sort of descriptions of
should have been a quote from Isaiah 6:8 “Whom shall I combat. Never once does he brag about anything, particu-
send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send larly when it comes to meeting and marrying his second wife.
me.” COL Jacobs’ book is really a tribute to all His focus is always
who volunteer their lives to serve their country, on his compatriots.
even when it is unpopular. Location of action: Kien Phong Province, Vietnam
Another quote Date of action: March 9, 1968
I briefly met Jack Jacobs on Inauguration comes to mind Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity
Day Jan. 20 at ROA’s Medal of Honor break- since reading COL in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the
fast. I managed to get to him just as he was Jacobs’ book, one call of duty. CPT Jacobs (then 1LT), Infantry, distin-
getting ready to leave for the inauguration from Jim Rohn, guished himself while serving as assistant battalion
ceremony, gave him my card, and asked if he advisor, 2d Battalion, 16th Infantry, 9th Infantry Divi-
author and busi- sion, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. The 2d Bat-
would mind my getting in touch. He was kind ness philosopher: talion was advancing to contact when it came under
enough to give me his e-mail and snail mail ad- “The challenge intense heavy machine gun and mortar fire from a
dresses. He was gracious enough to share that of leadership is Viet Cong battalion positioned in well-fortified bun-
information so that I could send him a copy of his book to to be strong, but kers. As the 2d Battalion deployed into attack for-
autograph, which he did in a most respectful way. mation, its advance was halted by devastating fire.
not rude; be kind, CPT Jacobs, with the command element of the lead
COL Jacobs earned his commission through ROTC and but not weak; be company, called for and directed air strikes on the
was assigned to the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, N.C. He bold, but not a enemy positions to facilitate a renewed attack. Due
wanted to lead Soldiers, but as the Army so often does, it as- bully; be thought- to the intensity of the enemy fire and heavy casual-
signed him as an advisor to a South Vietnamese battalion. ful, but not lazy; ties to the command group, including the company
It was during that tour that he earned the Medal of commander, the attack stopped and the friendly
be humble, but not