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Saepe Expertus, Semper Fidelis, Fratres Aeterni
"Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"

Echo Co. 1st Recon Bn. 1st Marine Division
 

 

This page is dedicated to the memory of Sergeant Major Maurice Jacques. 

If you have come to this page through my Jacques web page, you will know that the Sergeant Major is a distant cousin of the webmaster.  I learned about Maurice Jacques and his autobiography, Sergeant Major, U.S. Marines, written by Major Bruce H. "Doc" Norton and Sergeant Major Maurice Jacques, from a friend who served with Force Recon.  I found my friend while searching for information on Lt. James T. Egan, Jr., who is one of my adopted MIAs.  My friend served with "Gunny" Jacques at Ba-To, RVN, as part of the first teams to patrol the Ba-To area.  Jim Egan joined them in January 1966 on a more expansive patrol in support of Operation Double-Eagle and it was at this time Jim was MIA. 

With the last name of Jacques, I figured that Maurice just had to be a cousin of mine of one degree or another (my mother's maiden name is Jacques), so I bought his book.  Maurice was proud of his French-Canadian heritage and made his genealogy the very first chapter in the book!  Sure enough, I was able to place him very neatly with the Jacques folks who started out in France, immigrated to Charlesbourg, Québec, and then moved to Beauce, Québec. His ancestors left Québec traveling down into Vermont and then finally to Massachusetts.  Maurice is a descendant of Pierre Jacques whose father Louis Jacques came to Québec from France in the mid-1600s.  Pierre was the brother of the Louis from whom I am descended.  And, I am have been in touch with other Jacques cousins who still live in the part of Québec where Maurice's family came from.  Small world!!  If interested in his ancestors please visit my main Jacques page or the  page that shows his family line.

The Sergeant Major served in the Corps for thirty years, his travels took him to Paris Island, Guam, Korea and Vietnam - all of this is recounted in his book.  He died 11 May, 1997 and was buried in the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in Oceanside, California, on 22 May, 1997 -  Plot: CBC 3 382.  From what I am reading and hearing about him - I truly wish I could have met him. 

   

Pvt. M. J. Jacques,
Platoon 127, 4th Bn,
Parris Island, S.C., 1948.
With a score of 324,
just 2 points short of recruit of the year.

Performing a rigger's check on a reserve parachute

First combat jump in
USMC history, 14 June 1966.
Kneeling (left to right):
Haferkamp, Speese, Paull, Jacques, Griggs, Clay, Martin
Standing: Unknown, Cobb, Bacta, Unknown, Hernandez

The above photos are from Sergeant Major, U.S. Marines
I am very grateful to Major Bruce "Doc" Norton for permission to use these photos.
click on the thumbnail for larger photo


Click above patch to visit the pages of the 1st Recon Battalion Association
This website is for all current and former members of reconnaissance elements
of the 1st Marine Division, including 1st Recon Bn, 1st Force Recon Co.,
1st Recon Co., Amphib Recon, Deep Reconnaissance Platoon

   

Some words from my Force Recon friend on Maurice Jacques: 

"The 'Gunny' as I knew him, was one heck of a Warrior.  He was in several close firefights but always managed to get himself and his men out.  A real gentleman too.  He looked rugged and tough and, when he had to be he was, at other times he was a gem."

 

Robert Tracy (a link to his terrific web site is shown below), who served with the Sergeant Major in Echo Co., 1st Recon, has contributed a couple of personal stories of Jacques "in action": 

"I do remember Jacques pretty well, even though I was only 19 years' old when I knew him. I recall that he was "odd" in the same way I was "odd".  He was an individualist, with original ideas.  For example, he made up a napalm "bomb" to throw over the hill one night on an OP.  It was his own creation of a mixture of c-4, and I think just regular gasoline, and who knows what else. The first time he did it I think we were all pretty skeptical, but it did go off with a beautiful blast.  It was never used, as far as I know, in an actual combat situation, but it was the idea that we came to see as good and important.  I always wonder if the military (particularly the Marine Corps) didn't somehow adapt his idea for use in future battles."

"He used to put us all into impossible P.T. exercises. I recall one incident - I think it was off of China Beach in Vietnam.  One day we were doing rubber-boat training and Jacques was the trainer.  We did the usual P.T. before getting into the boats.  We were in full gear -  I had my K-bar, or it might have been the ordinary bayonet.  The boat I was in "blew up"! That is, it was punctured (by my knife?).  Of course it collapsed.  This was an expensive boat.  Jacques asked 'who is responsible for this?'  Either no one knew for sure, or no one was going to rat on me (if it was me!).  Jacques said then, 'everyone on the deck'.  Then, in the sand, we had to do 'leg-lifts forever' according to Jacques.  Turned out we were to be doing leg-lifts for maybe 10 minutes, but that exercise is very painful.  We got through it and we were probably stronger for having to do it.  The subject of the burst boat was never brought up again.  But that was his way.  A mistake was made - all of us had to pay the price; and then it was simply forgotten.  I do remember that when Jacques put us through P.T., whether it was running or pushups or whatever, he would often yell at us that 'this is for Gunny Howard', a Medal of Honor winner from the Battalion from a few years before. 
 

Some of the Marines of Echo Co.
photo is too big to get everyone in the scan - but it's being worked on

 


Maurice Jacques
an enlargement from above photo

These two photos are courtesy of Robert Tracy

 

The caption of this photos as published in Life was:

" A professional's job without songs or slogans."

" Members of a Marine reconnaissance force, a highly professional unit trained for patrolling and paratrooping, pose for Author Sherrod after completion of a three-day jungle patrol near the DMZ." 

Dave Robin former Sergeant and recon team leader, of the 1st Force Recon Co., very kindly sent me information about this photograph.  He told me that this platoon photo was taken in the fall of 1966 a few meters east of the 1st Force Recon Detachment CP. The photographer was Robert Sherrod of Life Magazine. Sgt. Robin was standing next to Mr. Sherrod when the photo was taken.  (Only five had just returned from a patrol). The picture was taken at Dong Ha, Vietnam, which is just south of the DMZ.  They were with 1st Force Recon Co. at the time and attached to the 3rd Recon Bn.  Gunny Jacques is on the far right in the middle row.  Standing in front of Jacques is Sgt. Eugene Cinquemani (Hunter) and to his right is Sgt. Tom Clay.

 

Sgt. Jacques is in the right rear of the photo, walking right to left (in front of jeep).  The woman photographer is a French news correspondent. I wonder if any of the photos she took that day were ever published.  She was also an experienced parachutist and was really angry when, at the last minute, she was not allowed to jump with us.  Should have heard the language that woman used!

This photo was taken 9 July 1966 at Dong Ha, Vietnam prior to a training
jump. I am the one in the center of photo with helmet, m-14, and parachute.  Photo & caption courtesy of David Robin

 


Click the patch for the Headquarters
of the Force Recon Association site


Click photo to visit another Recon Marine site
This site has contact info for many past team members

 

The background (a photograph of the Dong Din hills in Vietnam) and some of the graphics used on this page are done so with the permission of Robert Tracy. 

Click on the bannerto visit Robert's superb web site.  You will find his beautiful Marine Corps and Vietnam related artwork and graphics, as well as photos of Echo Co. 1st Recon.  If you wish to use any of the graphics or photos on this page, please contact the webmaster and/or Robert Tracy.  Thank you.

I wish thank to thank all of the Marines who have helped me with obtaining photos and information on the Sergeant Major.  Their input has made this page possible.


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