Jack D. Reed

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Vietnam


Jack D. Reed was born in Winthrop, MA. He attended Winthrop High School where he was an outstanding player on the Football and Track Teams. Jack was also the President of his class in his Freshman year. In 1962, he continued his education at the University of Rhode Island on a partial football scholarship. He was a member of the Phi Mu Delta Fraternity and was enrolled in the Army ROTC program for three years. Jack earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education from URI in 1966. Following graduation, Jack joined the United States Marine Corps and was selected to attend the Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia.

After graduating from the Basic School at Quantico, VA, Lieutenant Reed was selected for U.S. Air Force flight training, which he completed in December 1968. He joined Marine Training Squadron 203 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC for further training before transferring to Marine Attack Squadron VMA 331 at MCAS Beaufort, SC where he served as the Flight Line Officer

In February 1970, 1st Lt. Reed was transferred to VMA 311 in the Republic of Vietnam where he flew 269 combat missions in the A4E Skyhawk attack aircraft. He flew combat missions over South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. His decorations for heroism and personal bravery include the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with Bronze Star. The Award Citation stated:

“For heroic achievement in aerial flight while serving as a Pilot with Marine Attack Squadron 311, Marine Aircraft Group Eleven, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with combat operations against the enemy force in the Republic of Vietnam. On the afternoon of 9 August 1970, First Lieutenant Reed launched as Section Leader of a flight of two A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned the mission of providing close air support for the emergency extraction of a six-man Marine Reconnaissance team which had come in contact with a much larger enemy force. Undaunted by the intensity of the hostile fire directed at his aircraft and the extremely adverse weather conditions, First Lieutenant Reed skillfully maneuvered his Skyhawk on repeated strafing runs and delivered his rounds with such precision that the enemy was halted giving the Marine patrol the opportunity to move away from the pursuing enemy force. Able now to deliver his bombs, he continued to disregard the enemy fire as he executed bombing runs with pinpoint accuracy thus silencing the hostile force and allowing the reconnaissance team to be safely extracted without a single casualty.”

In July 1974, Captain Reed was transferred to Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron (H&MS)-10 where he served as the executive officer. In July 1975, he was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet Weapons Training Facility at Naval Air Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico as the Marine Corps Liaison Officer. In September 1978, Major Reed was assigned as the Logistics Officer for Marine Aircraft Group-15 at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. He returned to MCAS Cherry Point and VMA-331, in November 1979 to serve as maintenance officer, and then in May1980, as executive officer. In October 1981, he transferred to H&MS-32 where he served as executive officer.

On 11 March 1983, LtCol Reed assumed command of the 1,200-man squadron. He commanded H&MS-32 on numerous deployments providing Tactical Air Coordination Airborne (TACA) and Forward Air Control Airborne (FACA), flying the squadrons OA4M aircraft in support of squadrons from MAG-32 and MAG-14 while at the same time providing excellent maintenance and aviation supply for three Harrier squadrons. LtCol Reed joined the Sixth Marine Amphibious Brigade (6th MAB) in January 1985, serving as the Air Officer and Plans Officer for the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 until August 1986 when he became the Deputy AC/S, G3. LtCol Reed was involved in the detail planning and operational execution of 11 major exercises; and at times, he served as the G-3 in the absence of the actual G-3. At the completion of his tour and upon his retirement, LtCol Reed was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. LtCol Reed retired from the United States Marine Corps in June 1987 with over 20 years of military service.

His military awards and decorations include: Distinguish Flying Cross, Air Medal with Bronze Star, 17 Flight Strike Air Medals, Navy Commendation with Combat “V,” National Defense Medal, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation, Naval Unit Commendation, Vietnam Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Vietnamese Presidential Unit Citation, and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Following retirement from the military, Jack started a small business in Maryland building custom homes. He was very successful and finally retired from his construction business in 2005. He and his wife Janet moved to Kentucky where they raise and show Arabian horses.

Jack has been supportive of URI sports for many years and was a very generous contributor to the recent ROTC classroom renovation project. LtCol Reed has spent his entire life serving his community and nation during peace and war. His exemplary devotion to duty, personal bravery and outstanding leadership are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his family, our country and the University of Rhode Island.