Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Action Jackson

We stateside shooters who complain when the ribbon-cuttings run long aren't fit to polish the lens-cap of those far-flung photogs who carry glass into battle. Case in point: Chris Jackson. Last August the young freelancer was traveling the backroads of Afghanistan with none other than Colonel Oliver North and a caravan of U.S. Marines - when 50 pounds of homemade explosives ripped open the Humvee he was riding in. The blast sprayed Jackson's leg with shrapnel, but he and his Marines were able to escape the burning vehicle. Except one. Sgt. Courtney Rauch remained inside, injured and unconscious. Chris Jackson could have shouldered his camera and captured some dramatic footage, but instead he chose a higher assignment. Rushing back into the flames, Jackson pulled Sgt. Rauch from the wreckage, saving his life and earning the adoration of a fierce and elite fraternity. These days Chris Jackson slings a lens for CNN and didn't think much of a briefing he had to attend a before leaving for all of places, India. That's when Marine Major General Paul Lefebvre pinned the Distinguished Public Service Award on the photog's chest, thus awarding him the the second highest award given to civilians by the Navy.
"This was not an everyday action." said the General. "It came from somewhere deep inside and shows such a level of courage and commitment."
Jackson, who's accompanied servicemembers into combat zones since 2001, said he didn’t think twice about risking his own life to save someone else’s - just like, uh, we would, should the next artichoke festival erupt in combustibles. Until then, we ain't worthy...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me spray beer on my computer with that second-to-last line.

Miami Fan said...

Great story Mr. Pittman.

I hadn't heard about this until I checked your blog. This is a story that gives me faith, not only in other photogs, but humanity as a whole.