Jack Howard Jacobs is a retired Jewish American soldier who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in honor of his valor during the Vietnam War.
Jacobs (born August 2, 1945) was born in Brooklyn to a Jewish family of Greek, Polish and Romanian descent. As a child he moved with his family to New Jersey and later graduated from Rutgers University with both a bachelor's and master's degree. A member of Rutgers' ROTC program, Jacobs entered military service in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant in 1966.
In his first deployment to Vietnam, Jacobs served with Military Assistance Command in a region of the Mekong Delta. On March 9, 1968, his battalion came under intense fire from an entrenched Viet Cong force. As Jacobs called in air support, his company commander was disabled and the unit became disorganized from heavy casualties. Although wounded himself, Jacobs took command of the company and ordered a withdrawal and the establishment of a more secure, defensive line. Despite impaired vision caused by his injuries, Jacobs repeatedly ran across open rice paddies through heavy fire to evacuate the wounded, personally saving the company commander and twelve other allied soldiers. Three times during these trips he encountered Viet Cong squads, which he single-handedly dispersed. For this galantry, Jacobs was presented with the Medal of Honor, the United States' highest military decoration.
Over the course of his military career, Jacobs also served as a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division, a battalion executive officer in the 7th Infantry Division and a battalion commander with the 10th Infantry Regiment in Panama. He spent two tours of duty in Vietnam.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Jacobs also received two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts during his military career.
Jacobs retired at the rank of Colonel in 1987. He was founder and Chief Operating Officer of AutoFinance Group Inc, one of the firms to pioneer the securitization of debt instruments, and was later the Managing Director of Bankers Trust and of Lehman Brothers, retiring in 1996 to pursue investments.
Jacobs is married to Sue Jacobs, has a grown daughter and two sons, and lives in New Jersey.