MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Horace ‘Bubba’ Jackson is one of the Chosin Few. They are the Marines who survived nearly overwhelming Chinese attacks at the battle of the Chosin Reservoir in what is now North Korea.

“About 10 days of pretty bad stuff — but I didn’t know we were surrounded by 10 Chinese divisions and they’d made the commitment they were going to annihilate the First Marine Division,” said Jackson.

Chosin is described as one of the defining battles of the Marine Corps, as about 20,000 Marines and Korean forces fought off wave after wave of 120,000 Chinese troops in the freezing, mountainous terrain.

Jackson said, “There was hand-to-hand fighting. They broke through the lines and they were fighting down there, they finally ran them back out.”

As the Marines began ‘advancing in a different direction,’ as one of their generals called it — to a port 70 miles away — Jackson was there as one of the most famous calls for an airdrop of more ammunition was made.

“We all have code names for ammunition,” he said. “And that was for a 60-millimeter mortar –‘tootsie roll’ you drop down there. And they sent us tootsie rolls by the cartoon, you know.”

That’s right, instead of ammo–the Marines got candy. But it was a blessing in disguise. The Marines discovered that when the frozen candy was warmed, it could plug bullet holes–and provide nourishment for that 70-mile trek.

“And we could put that in our mouth and it would soften up and we could chew it. I’d take my K-bar and cut off a plug and that nourishment got us out of there,” said Jackson.

Back home, Jackson had a beautiful bride waiting on him he’d met at Auburn. He pursued a career in construction. His bride passed away in her 60s, and Jackson said he never thought he’d marry again. But in his 80s he met another lady. Mary.

“You know I said we’re not getting any younger. I was going on 87, she was going on 86,” he said.

It was a marriage that lasted almost 7 years when tragedy struck—a story covered in the news–as he and Mary Jackson went to a late mass at Little Flower Catholic Church on a Sunday evening this past December.

Jackson said, “And we were crossing the street and in December it was dark. And a block away the light changed and I said we’d better hurry. We were halfway across the street and the grass was right in front of us. We had one more step and we’d been on the grass. And she got hit, and I was holding her left hand and she took the first blow.”

Mary Jackson died in the accident. Bubba was bruised up but has now recovered.  He had met Mary playing golf and through his church at St Pius the Tenth. Today, he continues to play golf and at 94 enjoys his status as the oldest member of his local Marine Corps League Chapter. It’s why we’re honoring Bubba Jackson as our Serving Those Who Serve hero.

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