Fred Charles Jackson

Indonesia, 1941-1942

Paul Leroy JohnsonFred Jackson was born on January 25, 1916, in Topeka, Kansas. Regrettably, his youth was marred by domestic violence, resulting in his parents’ divorce and Fred’s placement in a children’s home for seven years. Although the family was later reunited, after several years the parents separated again. Fred was sent to live on his uncle’s farm in Topeka for two years before dropping out during his high school junior year to work at a large produce market.

On March 15, 1935, while on his way to a party, he stopped at a small Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) chapel holding a missionary convention. There, at age 19, he heard the story of salvation for the first time. Deeply convicted, he received Jesus Christ as his Savior. Moments later he committed to missionary service; the convention speaker, C. C. Ellenberger, told him about the Missionary Training Institute (MTI), now Nyack College, in Nyack, New York.

That same night, Fred read the Bible for the first time, randomly opening to Matthew 28:18–20—the Great Commission. It sealed his call, motivating Fred to return to high school, graduate, and enter MTI before graduating in 1938.

On February 24, 1939, Fred and Elizabeth (Beth) Garlock, a classmate from Santa Ana, California, married. Fred was ordained the same year and served as pastor of a C&MA church in Visalia, California, until 1941. He then completed courses in aviation at Visalia Junior College to secure his private pilot’s license.

The Jacksons applied to the C&MA for missionary service and were appointed to the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia); Fred was to fly the mission plane. Because of the buildup toward World War II, women could not obtain passports to travel overseas, so the couple agreed that Fred should go to the field first, with Beth following later. He sailed for the East Indies on September 4, 1941.

With permission from C&MA headquarters, Fred was soon flying the mission plane as well as copiloting a large Dutch reconnaissance aircraft.

According to the article “The Plane Truth,” in the October 2009 issue of alife, “Jackson flew numerous supply and evacuation missions for the Dutch government. Shortly after he landed at Long Poedjongan outpost, the Japanese captured the base. They ordered Jackson to fly the plane to Tarakan air base for use in their war effort.”

A Dutch consul later wrote of Jackson’s great courage and poise flying the small, unarmed mission plane and how he readily offered his services wherever needed.

Between December 1941 and December 1944, no word was received about Jackson’s whereabouts. Information finally trickled in from various sources revealing how Fred had flown the Sande family to the interior and was with them at Long Nawang camp on August 20, 1942, when the Japanese captured a nearby Dutch garrison. Seventy people were taken prisoner, including Fred Jackson and the Sande family. Six days later, Fred Jackson and Andrew Sande were among 40 men brutally bayoneted to death.

In response to the news of her husband’s death, Beth wrote: “I know Fred would feel as I do that no greater honor could be his than to lay down his life for his precious Lord whom he loved with all that was within him and for whom he sailed alone to Borneo."

Following Fred’s death, Beth served in Indonesia from 1947 to 1959. Later, she taught classes and held several important positions at Nyack College. She never remarried.


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