WWI Wounded Marine RPPC – Belleau Wood Navy Cross Recipient – Jacob Heckman, 5th Marine Regiment


My favorite World War One photo in my collection has to be the following real photo postcard shot taken in Paris in December of 1918.  The content and context of the photo – three wounded officers posing in a French studio before being sent home – is good enough to grace the “top shelf” of any WWI photo collection.  The fact that they are named on the reverse makes it all the more interesting.  For the purpose of this post, I will identify one of the officers and track down his service history.

Jacob H. Heckman(L)

Jacob H. Heckman(L)

Heckman is included in the hall of heroes for American Jewish Military History: http://www.nmajmh.org/exhibitions/catalog-hallOfHeroes/cat41.php

HeckmanHere’s a transcription of the above entry:

Second Lieutenant Jacob H. Heckman, USMC

For extraordinary heroism in action in the Bois de Belleau, France, June 25th, 1918.  With the assisting three sergeants, he started out to destroy the final stand of enemy in the Bois de Belleau, an impregnable position, where enemy guns were concealed by rocks and heavy shrubbery.  Armed with only a pistol, he rushed the nest, which was offering the most violent resistance, and captured one officer and ninety men.  Each of his men destroyed a nest and captured two of the enemy at each position.  After effecting the complete reduction of the last element, he marched his prisoners in under a severe and harassing fire of the retreating enemy.

And from the following blog: http://boatagainstthecurrent.blogspot.com/2008/06/this-day-in-world-war-i-history-marines.html

Perhaps an even more astonishing example of heroism was provided by First Lieutenant Jacob Harrison Heckman, whose actions on June 25 were just one of many examples of courage up and down the line that day that secured victory. His citation reads as follows:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Jacob Harrison Heckman, First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving with the 5th Regiment (Marines), 2d Division, A.E.F. in action in the Bois-de-Belleau, France, June 25, 1918 resistance, and captured one officer and ninety men. Each of his men destroyed a nest and captured two of the enemy at each po. With the assistance of three sergeants, Lieutenant Heckman started out to destroy the final stand of the enemy in the Bois-de-Belleau, an impregnable position, where enemy guns were concealed by rocks and heavy shrubbery. Armed with only a pistol, Lieutenant Heckman rushed the nest which was offering the most violent sition. After effecting the complete reduction of the last element, Lieutenant Heckman marched his prisoners in under a severe and harassing fire of the retreating enemy.

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