Charles “Pat” Jackson entered the Naval Academy in 1966 after living in various parts of the South. Due to his parent's absence from the States during the majority of his stay at Navy, his camper, "The Moveable Feast," made many expeditions during leave periods. Some unexplainable force usually attracted Pat and his truck to U.N.C.G. during weekends.
Pat met his future wife his sophomore year of High School when he transferred from Abilene, Texas. He was tall, lanky, wore cowboy boots and a huge belt buckle!! Who could resist his determination and infectious sense of humor? Pat always wanted USNA. That was all he talked about. They were best friends all through high school. When Pat visited on his way to Plebe Summer they realized that they liked each other A LOT more than best friends.
After a four-year, long-distance relationship, graduation and marriage couldn’t come quickly enough. After Pat received his wings in Kingsville, Texas, they were “stashed” at NAS Oceana. The best of VF-43 was the “heart” of the squadron. Their son, Patrick Andrew Jackson, was born a little early and the whole squadron focused on getting Pat home from TDY in time for his birth at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. No dad could have been more proud of a son. Andy proved the genetic link was very strong when he chose to become an Air Force pilot.
After VR-43, Pat still longed to fly the F-4. He got his chance when he was ordered to VF11, The Red Rippers. Pat always dreamed of being a Blue Angel or a test pilot. We won’t ever really know if those hopes would have been realized because on April 11, 1976 his plane crash-landed on the carrier during “work ups” for the Rippers’ next deployment. And even though he never regained consciousness, his wife knew that he never regretted his choice to go Navy Air; it was what he was meant to do. His favorite saying for being shot off the carrier was “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had with my clothes on” and for hooking the wire to land, “… a piece of cake ... IF you're smooth.”
Updated: October 27, 2018
Curator: Ed Moore