The account that follows is a true story and the second in a series titled, Portraits of Valor. We have invited individuals from our community of supporters to share stories of valor, service, and sacrifice. Whether that be their own experience or the experiences of family members or friends, Portraits of Valor is a celebration of those who have dedicated their lives to serving others. This account was written by Teresa and Cindy Cornn and has only been edited for clarity. All pictures courtesy of the Cornn family. If you are interested in submitting a story for Portraits of Valor click here.
Retired MSG Jack R. Cornn was born and raised in Rabun County, Georgia. He was the third youngest of nine brothers and sisters and a dedicated husband and father. He enlisted in the US Army on June 17, 1960, and transferred to Fort Stewart, Georgia for basic training. He obtained medals in submachine gunning, Marksman, Sharpshooter and Tank Gunner Expert. After basic, he transferred to Hawaii for two years.
In 1964 he relocated to Augsburg, Germany as an Armor Crewman, and in 1969 he went onto Vietnam where he served four campaigns. On June 6, 1969, PSG Jack Cornn led the fight for B. Co, 1st Pit, 2/34th. His tanker crew escorted the infantry westward from An Loc which lead to the biggest battle of the 1st infantry divisions calendar year. This battle resulted in 350 enemy casualties. The 2/34th men received 2 Silver Stars for their actions. The platoon afterward sported pennants on their tanks that read “ Cornn’s Assassins.”
(If anyone that still has one of these flags and is willing to part with it Jack's daughters would love to have it.)
Following his service in Vietnam, Jack received the following accommodations, Army Commendation, two Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with a device, Silver Star, Vietnam Service Medal, Good Conduct (6 awards) Medal, and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm.
Ten years later, July 2, 1979, Jack was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds he received as a result of hostile action in Vietnam on June 6, 1969.
When Jack returned to the States, he became a recruiter for Kentucky and Southern Indiana. He not only led on the foreign battlefront but also on the homefront as he earned the Gold Army Recruiter Badge with 3 Sapphires. He was then asked to join the Majors Academy, which he declined and retired with 20 years of service to his name.
Once retired there was no keeping him down. He always stayed busy around the house or on the farm. He could often be found lending a hand to his neighbors or even passing strangers. His smile was contagious, and he left every conversation with a newfound friend.
He paid the ultimate price on March 28, 2014, after being diagnosed with lung cancer caused by Agent Orange.
(Jack's casket carried to his final resting place at
Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Nicholasville, KY)
We all lost part of our heart when he left us, but what we gained in the short time he was here we wouldn’t trade for anything in this world. Through his actions he taught us that hard work ALWAYS PAYS OFF, that laughter can cure heartaches, and one smile can brighten an entire room. We are all better people today and every day because of him and the love he left behind.
His love, strength, hard work, and courage will never be forgotten
We LOVE AND MISS YOU DAD!!
In honor of Jack, his granddaughter started selling Jack's Warrior Candles. If you wish to purchase a candle in honor of Jack, she will donate 100% of the proceeds to veterans.