ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) hosted a Medal of Honor recipient on board for the first time in the ship's brief history in service while the ship was conducting training exercises in the Atlantic Ocean Sept. 24.
Retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs, who was awarded the MOH during his service in the Vietnam War, came aboard as part of an MSNBC television crew producing a story about the youth of America serving aboard the Navy's newest aircraft carrier.
Although visiting the ship in his capacity as a journalist and military analyst for the news network, Jacobs relished the opportunity to visit with the Sailors, shake their hands and thank them for the effort in their service to the nation.
"It was so rewarding to hear their stories and witness first hand the hard work and dedication going on here," Jacobs said. "It was very special."
Jacobs watched flight operations from the flight deck, toured the mess decks and galley, and visited the medical spaces and weapons magazines. The service and accomplishments of Jacobs were not lost on the Sailors who met him.
"To be able to show him and our nation the story behind what our Sailors do is almost too hard to describe," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (SW/AW) William Doyle, USS George H.W. Bush Weapons Department. "Having a Medal of Honor recipient and major news broadcasting network climb down into our weapons magazines and film our department execute what they have been training to do for so long, is one of the most rewarding feelings I have ever had during my time in the Navy."
For Electronics Technician 3rd Class (AW/SW) Brittney Fortenberry, USS George H.W. Bush Combat Systems Department, the opportunity to be around Jacobs was especially valuable.
"Speaking to him off-camera was a blessing because he gave me so much advice on my upcoming decisions to re-enlist and complete college," she said. "I really appreciate the opportunity that was presented to me in meeting him."
Jacobs was commissioned into the Army through Reserve Officers' Training Corps at Rutgers University in 1966. He served two tours in Vietnam and received the Medal of Honor from President Richard M. Nixon in October 1969.
According to his biography and Medal of Honor citation, Jacobs was an adviser to a Vietnamese infantry battalion when it came under a devastating fire that disabled the commander. Although bleeding from severe head wounds, then-1st Lt. Jacobs took command, withdrew the unit to safety, and returned again and again under intense fire to rescue the wounded and perform life-saving first aid. He saved the lives of a U.S. adviser and 13 allied soldiers.
In addition to the MOH, Jacobs retired from service having earned two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.
"Having Colonel Jacobs on board CVN 77 is a once-in-a-lifetime event," said Capt. Chip Miller, USS George H.W. Bush commanding officer. "The entire crew was honored to host him on our great ship. He is a national hero who exemplifies the level of dedication, bravery and fighting spirit that we all hope to emulate as we serve our country and prepare for this ship's first-ever combat deployment."
For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.