Vietnam War fighter pilot to speak during Rogersville Veterans Day program

Jeff Bobo • Nov 7, 2018 at 9:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Most people know Jake Jacobs as the proprietor of the Amis Mill Eatery near Rogersville, owner and caretaker of the Amis historic site and an extremely knowledgeable historian.

What may be less known is that 50 years ago Capt. Jacobs was an Air Force fighter pilot who served in Vietnam and earned not one, but two Distinguished Flying Crosses.

Jacobs will be the keynote speaker Saturday during Rogersville’s Veterans Day program, which is being held a day early on Nov. 10 at 11 a.m. because Sunday during the 11th hour many people will still be in church.

Jacobs was an F-100 Super Sabre pilot for five years. He spent one year in Vietnam (1970) when he was stationed at Phan Rang Air Force Base.

His job was primarily close air support for ground troops.

“They would call us in on air strikes to help them out when they’d get in binds,” Jacobs said.

Both of his DSCs were for his actions flying close air support missions to protect South Vietnamese soldiers threatened by a large force.

One citation states that on April 13, 1970, “Despite low ceiling, poor visibility and intense ground fire, Lt. Jacobs flew multiple bomb and strafe passes and completely suppressed enemy fire, allowing the safe evacuation of friendly troops.”

Jacobs said the theme of his message Saturday is freedom.

“I want to talk about the innate desire in all of us to be free,” Jacobs said. “I’m going to go all the way back to the Revolution. The driving force for the Revolution was freedom. That’s what veterans have gone to war to protect, from then until now. That’s what actual men and women who serve sign up to do: Protect freedom.”

The annual Rogersville Veterans Day program will be held on Main Street in front of the Hawkins County Courthouse.

The event begins at 11 a.m. with the ringing of the bell 11 times by Cub Scout Pack 100, followed by the opening invocation by Rev. Tecky Hicks.

Capt. (Ret.) Larry Wheeler from the Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department will present opening remarks, followed by the raising of the flag by a combined unit of Cherokee and Volunteer High School NJROTC cadets.

The national anthem will be sung by Mary Ellen Broome, and VFW Post 9543 Commander Dave Evans will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

Following Jacobs’ presentation and the closing ceremonies, the Hawkins County Cattlemen’s Association will provide a free lunch to all Hawkins County veterans on Stanley Valley Road just off Highway 11-W.