(transcript) 'Trung Uy Jake' Comes No More
Quang Tri (USMC) -- No more will the people of "his" village see him waving from a Marine helicopter. No more will they see him strolling down the dirt paths surrounded by dozens of children. No more will he lead the weekly visits by Navy medical corpsmen and doctors.
For eight months, First Lieutenant David K. Jacobsgaard was civic action officer for Marine Observation Squadron 6. And for eight months, his life revolved around flying and the village of Ba Ben. They were the last eight months of his life.
Lieutenant Jacobsgaard was lost in action when the UH-1E Huey gunship he was piloting was shot down by North Vietnamese Army .50 Caliber machine gun postions during Operation Dewey canyon.
The 1,000 inhabitants of Ba Ben, three miles southeast of Quang Tri Air Base, are among his mourners, for they had come to love the young Marine. They called him "Trung Uy (First Lieutenant) Jake."
Ba Ben, a refugee village which depended on fishing and rice growing for a living , was on the coast of the South China Sea. However, nearly a year ago, to protect the people from increased terrorist action, the village was relocated to a protected area around Quang Tri City. The Marine pilot helped the people switch to an agricultural way of life.
Dave Jacobsgaard met these people shortly after their relocation, and from that day Ba Ben was "his" village. He made the dusty and uncomfortable half-hour jeep trip from the air base at least two or three times a week. Often, when he hadn't seen the people for a few days, he would circle the village in a helicopter gunship when he returned from a flight -- just to make sure they were still all right.
Lieutenant Jacobsgaard loved the people, and the people loved him; but he didn't earn their love and respect without help. Assistance and inspiration continually came from his young wife Jacquelyn, thousands of miles away.
The husband-and-wife team were extremely interested in mission work and Jake often received donations and packages of clothes for "his" village from groups and individuals in the States who had heard his wife talk of her husband's civic action efforts.
One of his biggest projects was getting materials for a new village school to replace and old tumbled-down structure. Only a few days after the school was finished the villagers learned that "Trung Uy Jake" would be coming there no more.
The Ba Ben Elementary School was recently dedicated by the village to Lieutenant Jacobsgaard. It will stand as a fitting memorial to a man who educated the poor villagers to a new way of life -- who saw a job and worked tirelessly toward its accomplishment.