Mark Wayne Jackson

SFC Mark Wayne Jackson 

 KIA Wednesday 2 October 2002 near the city of Zamboanga in the Philippines

A Company, 2nd Battalion, ODA 145

1st Special Forces Group (Airborne)

Based at Fort Lewis, Washington

Age 40 from Glennie, Michigan 

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Mark was unmarried and survived by his father William Jackson, 59, mother Janice M. Jackson, 59, brother Richard J. Jackson, 29, of Glennie and sister Kimberly Ann Baase, 38, of Cincinnati.

Services were held 10 Oct 2002 at Hale First United Methodist Church in Glennie.

Soldier's death 'terrible loss'

Soldiers at the 1st Special Forces Group at Fort Lewis set about the sad task of mourning another of their dead Thursday. 


Maj. Kevin C. Colyer  with Mark's Brother Rick

Maj. Kevin C. Colyer arrived at the family's Alcona County home Thursday afternoon from Fort Lewis, Wash. 

"Mark was an outstanding soldier," Colyer said. "He commanded the 12 men of Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion of the 1st Special Forces Group. He was part of a joint task force supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in the Philippines." 

Colyer, with the battalion's commander, sergeant major and chaplain, will attend Jackson's funeral. It's possible that the Army will send Jackson's 12 men from the Philippines, too, Colyer said. 


A Special Forces honor guard from 

1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), 

Okinawa, Japan., carries 

Sgt. 1st Class Mark W. Jackson, 

of Glennie, Mich., from the flight line at Kadena Air Base , Japan on 3 October 2002.

Others planned the memorial service to be held sometime next week. And the group's executive officer, Maj. James Tennant, made the trip out to a Fort Lewis gate to read a prepared statement and talk briefly with reporters.

"We suffered an extremely terrible loss to our Special Forces team," the major said. "We're going to sorely miss Sergeant Jackson. He died doing what he really liked to do, and that was be a Special Forces soldier in the field."

As they did in January after the death of their comrade Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Chapman, Fort Lewis is grieving for one of the Army's elite - a highly decorated veteran of missions across the globe.

Jackson was a soldier 19 years, nine in the Special Forces. He spoke Farsi and Arabic, was the senior sergeant on his A-team and had gone on deployments to Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Haiti and numerous countries in Southeast Asia.

He'd been with the 1st Group at Fort Lewis since 1999.

In early September at his parents' home in Glennie, Mich., Jackson fished for trout with his younger brother Richard and mentioned he was headed to one of the world's terrorism hot spots.

"He knew he was going on a dangerous mission," Jackson's father, William, told The Associated Press on Thursday. "Rick begged him not to go. Mark said, 'There's just things you have to do.'"


Jackson was part of a 260-soldier U.S. contingent remaining in the Philippines to train troops in anti-terrorism tactics and perform humanitarian projects. 

More than 1,000 troops, including hundreds from Fort Lewis, were there from February to July training Philippine soldiers to combat the Abu Sayyaf kidnapping gang.

Philippine military and police authorities Thursday said Abu Sayyaf, which reportedly has ties to al-Qaida, is responsible for the bombing. No groups have claimed responsibility.


Jackson and five Filipino soldiers were killed Wednesday when a man on a motorcycle set off a nail-laden, homemade bomb at an open-air restaurant outside the gate of Camp Enrile Malagutay, in Zamboanga, Philippines..

Another 25 people were injured, including another Fort Lewis Special Forces soldier.

SFC Jackson and the wounded soldier are carried into a U.S. cargo plane at Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City, Thursday, Oct. 3. The U.S. soldier was wounded during an explosion Wednesday night, Oct. 2 at approximately 8:30 p.m. (Philippine time). The soldier was transported to a local hospital where he was treated by a U.S. Small Portable Expeditionary Aeromedical Rapid Response Team who are part of the Joint Special Operations Task Force contingent. He is now in stable condition in a local Okinawa hospital and will return to his duty station Monday.

The Army did not release the wounded soldier's name. He was flown to a U.S. military hospital in Japan, where he was reported in serious but stable condition.

William Jackson said his son was an avid sportsman who loved his parents' retirement home in Glennie, where thousands of summer tourists flock to the little town blessed with trout streams, lakes and wooded countryside. He said Mark played football and wrestled in high school.

"I couldn't ask for a better son," he said.

"He was a great kid. He was going to retire in three years. Now I would like to have him buried here in the local cemetery."



Sergeant First Class Mark Wayne Jackson

Born at Saint Luke Hospital in Saginaw, Michigan to the proud parents of William Alva and Janice Marie Jackson on June 7th, 1962.

He spent his youth between Saginaw, Michigan, Bridge Port, Michigan and Swan Valley, Michigan. While growing up, he balanced his time between academics, hunting, fishing, football, wrestling and track. He graduated from the Swan Valley School system in June 1981. After graduation, he got a job as a mason tender in Tawas, Michigan, and later enrolled in Delta College. 

Sergeant First Class Jackson started his military career in 1983 with attendance to Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, as a member of the United States Army Reserve. Additionally, he completed the Motor Transport Operators course and on the job training as an artillery soldier in B Battery, 4th Battalion, 38th Field Artillery at Bad Axe, Michigan. While assigned there he was promoted from Private First Class through Sergeant. In February of 1986, he joined the Active Army and attended the cannon crewman course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and continued on to Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, as a Private First Class. He was assigned to C Battery, 1st Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 

While assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, he attended a Combat Lifesaver Course, Unit Armors Course and Jungle Warfare Training at Fort Sherman, Panama. He was promoted to Specialist in January 1987.

In November 1987, Sergeant First Class Jackson was assigned to A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment in Hanau, Germany. He participated in numerous training exercises, attended Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC), and completed Basic Non-commissioned Officers Course (BNOC). He was promoted to Sergeant in November 1988.

In March 1990, Sergeant First Class Jackson was assigned to the 18th Airborne Corps, Noncommissioned Officers Course where he taught PLDC and BNOC and acted as the Reenlistment NCO. While assigned to the 18th Airborne Corps, he was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant and attended the Instructor Training Course, Ranger Course, Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course, and the Jumpmaster Course.

In August 1993, Sergeant First Class Jackson volunteered for Special Forces Training. He graduated from the Special Forces Weapons Sergeants Course at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and went on to complete the Basic Military Language Course for Persian Farsi in August 1994.

In September 1994, Sergeant First Class Jackson was assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He served on Operational Detachment Alpha 536. During his time in the 5th Special Forces Group, he participated in numerous overseas deployments to Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, and Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. Additionally, he attended the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape High Risk course, Tank Commander Certification Course, Aviation in Foreign Internal Defense Course, and the Special Forces Assistant Operations Course. In November 1998, Sergeant First Class Jackson attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, for basic Arabic and graduated from in December 1999.
In December 1999, Sergeant First Class Jackson was assigned to A Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Lewis, Washington, and became a member of Operational Detachment Alpha 142. He served as the Assistant Operations Sergeant for numerous deployments in South East Asia.

In August 2002, Sergeant First Class Jackson was assigned as the Operations Sergeant of Operational Detachment Alpha 145.

 On October 2nd 2002, while participating in Operation Enduring Freedom, Sergeant First Class Jackson was killed in the Republic of the Philippines.

Sergeant First Class Mark Jackson was a highly decorated soldier whose awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Southwest Asia Service Ribbon with Bronze Service Star, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with arrowhead, the Army Good Conduct Medal fifth award, the National Defense Service Ribbon with Bronze Star, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with three device, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Army Overseas Service Ribbon. Sergeant First Class Jackson's decorations include the Expert Infantry Badge, the Master Parachutists Badge, the Military Free Fall Badge, the Special Forces Tab, the Ranger Tab, the Jordanian Parachutist Badge, the Bahraini Parachutist Badge, the Russian Parachutist Badge, the Korean Parachutist Badge, and the Royal Thai Army Parachutist Badge.


News Articles


Friday, October 4, 2002


GLENNIE -- An Alcona County father on Thursday tearfully recalled his son, a former Saginaw resident, as a proud Green Beret who died serving the nation he loved. 

"He believed in what he was doing, and he loved his job," said William Jackson, whose son, Sgt. 1st Class Mark W. Jackson, died when a terrorist bomb exploded Wednesday in the Philippines. 

Authorities there blamed the brutal Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf for the bombing outside an open-air restaurant frequented by troops. 

The nail-laden bomb stashed on a motorcycle killed the driver. The attack also killed two Filipinos and wounded more than two dozen people, including another Green Beret. 

FBI agents arrived in the Philippines today to investigate the attack. 

Philippine military officials said the explosives were similar to those found in an unexploded bomb two months ago. They claimed it was planted by the al-Qaida-linked guerrillas, notorious for kidnappings and beheadings throughout the predominantly Muslim southern Philippines. 

The Abu Sayyaf warned last week it would mount attacks on civilian, military and U.S. targets in the Philippines to retaliate for the ongoing government offensive against Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines. 

Jackson, 40, was born and raised in Saginaw, graduating from Swan Valley High School in 1981. He had served in the Army for 17 years. 

"He could've retired in three years," William Jackson said. "He was planning on it. We could've been together then." 

The elder Jackson, 59, moved to Glennie in 1994 when he retired after 32 years with GM Powertrain's Saginaw Malleable Iron Plant. 

Mark Jackson also is survived by his mother, Janice M. Jackson, 59, and siblings, Kimberly Ann Baase, 38, of Cincinnati and Richard J. Jackson, 29, of Glennie. 

Mark Jackson first served with the 82nd Airborne Division and later as an Army Ranger. He had visited his parents in Glennie a few weeks ago before beginning a nine-month tour in the Philippines, Thailand and the Middle East. 

The military is flying his body to Glennie, where funeral arrangements are pending. 

Maj. Kevin C. Colyer arrived at the family's Alcona County home Thursday afternoon from Fort Lewis, Wash. 

"Mark was an outstanding soldier," Colyer said. "He commanded the 12 men of Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion of the 1st Special Forces Group. He was part of a joint task force supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in the Philippines." 

Colyer, with the battalion's commander, sergeant major and chaplain, will attend Jackson's funeral. It's possible that the Army will send Jackson's 12 men from the Philippines, too, Colyer said. 

Some of Jackson's Swan Valley classmates said they lost track of him after high school, but they weren't surprised to hear he was a Green Beret. 

"He was strong, a super-nice guy and always smiling," said former classmate Brian J. Kahl, 39, of Saginaw Township. "(Becoming a Green Beret is) pretty elite. But you know what? That doesn't surprise me. He was a great guy, but not one you wanted to mess around with. He was really smart too, you know, book smart." 

Jackson participated in football, wrestling and track, said classmate Matt J. Coffey, 39, a Thomas Township attorney. 

"He was a defensive lineman," Coffey said. "He was quiet, the toughest guy you ever met, but he wasn't a bully. He blushed easily if someone told an off-color joke." 

Schoolmate Edwin C. Flattery, 39, of Thomas Township, said Jackson's hobby was weightlifting. 

"If he was pressing 300 pounds after classes, it wouldn't have surprised me," he said. 

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Information from 1st and 5th SF Group Members, SF List, SFA and AP Wire used in this Article