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New mural at Auburn Municipal Airport honors local Veterans and Col. Joe Jackson


The Auburn Municipal Airport unveiled its newest mural on Monday, June 17, 2024, paying tribute to Auburn-area Veterans with a special dedication to Colonel Joe Jackson, a decorated war hero affectionately known as the “Luckiest Guy in the World.”

The vibrant mural, which now adorns a prominent wall at the airport, depicts scenes of military service and sacrifice, capturing the spirit and dedication of the veterans who have served the Auburn community and beyond. The centerpiece of the mural is a portrayal of Colonel Jackson, whose remarkable story of bravery has inspired many.


Colonel Joe Jackson, a former Air Force pilot, is celebrated for his extraordinary acts of heroism during the Vietnam War. In May 1968, he performed a daring rescue mission under heavy enemy fire, landing his unarmed C-123 transport plane on a besieged airstrip to evacuate a three-man U.S. Air Force combat control team. His quick thinking and exceptional flying skills saved the lives of the team members, earning him the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States.

The mural, a collaborative effort by local artists and veterans’ groups, was funded by community donations and a grant from the city’s public arts program. It features symbolic imagery, including aircrafts, military insignia, and scenes representing different branches of the armed forces. A plaque beneath the mural provides a brief biography of Colonel Jackson and highlights his distinguished military career.

Veterans and community members gathered at the airport for the unveiling, expressing pride and appreciation for the recognition of their service. “This mural is a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by our veterans,” said James Ellis, a local veteran who attended the event. “It’s a great way to educate the public and ensure that the stories of heroes like Colonel Jackson are never forgotten.”

Colonel Jackson, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 95, was known for his humility and often referred to himself as the “Luckiest Guy in the World.” Despite his numerous accolades, including the Medal of Honor, he remained modest about his achievements. His family attended the unveiling and expressed their gratitude for the tribute.


The mural at Auburn Municipal Airport is expected to become a local landmark, serving as a source of pride and reflection for the Auburn community and visitors alike. It stands as a lasting tribute to the valor and sacrifice of veterans, ensuring that their contributions are remembered for generations to come.

More info on murals at the airport are here.


Below are photos from the event, courtesy the City of Auburn:



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