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Dempster Jackson

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDempster McKee•Jackson
Used nameDempster•Jackson
Born17 November 1930 in San Diego, California (USA)
Died3 April 2001 in Arlington, Virginia (USA)
AffiliationsUS Navy, (USA)
NOC United States


Dempster Jackson attended the US Naval Academy and made the 1952 Olympics with the Navy crew team. Jackson became a career Naval officer, eventually reaching the rank of rear admiral. In August 1964 Jackson was involved in controversial actions aboard the US destroyer USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War. On 2 August the USS Maddox was attacked by three North Vietnamese torpedo patrol boats, and returned fire, damaging all three boats. On 4 August, it was reported that the Maddox, and another destroyer, was attacked again by North Vietnamese forces, but they were again successful in warding them off. In response, US President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution through Congress, authorizing US forces to “take all necessary measures” to repel attacks on American forces. It later turned out that the USS Maddox was not on routine patrol either night but on intelligence gathering missions. Further, long after the war ended, North Vietnamese generals insisted that no such attack had occurred.

Jackson received numerous awards for his military service, which also included service in the Korean War, including a Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, and two Bronze Stars. He retired from active duty in 1983 after commanding the anti-submarine warfare project with the Naval Material Command and serving as deputy commander of the combat systems directorate at the headquarters of Naval Sea Systems Command. He later did consulting work on undersea warfare projects and was an executive vice-president of the Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport, Washington.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1952 Summer Olympics Rowing USA Dempster Jackson
Coxless Fours, Men (Olympic) United States 3 h2 r4/5