Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

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By Andi Bourne

Sackett is the real deal

Editor's Note


August 2, 2018

After reading the article on Seeley Lake veteran James Sackett in the July 26 issue of the Pathfinder, some readers found it hard to believe he had earned seven Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars and one Bronze Star along with several other badges and medals during his 27-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Furthering the skepticism, it was printed his days as a Marine ended in 1984 yet he served in the Gulf War. The Pathfinder printed 1984 in error. Sackett retired in 1994 and did serve in the Gulf War.

Regarding the medals, a 27-year Army veteran pointed out that Sackett couldn’t be found on any Google search as a Purple Heart recipient.

In fact, there is no comprehensive list of Purple Heart or Silver Star recipients. All of the listing websites we could find were not complete lists. Veterans must voluntarily submit their name and the proper documentation to be listed.

Sackett did however present to me his DD-214 after being asked. It listed his dates of service 1966-1994, statement of service, as well as all of his medals and badges, of which included seven Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars, one Bronze Star and the many others.

While it was a surprise to many that we have such a highly decorated Marine among us, it was not a surprise to us at the Pathfinder. In our experience most veterans are very humble about their service and Sackett is no different.

It was after learning that Sackett was a Marine Corps veteran at the Memorial Day ceremony this year and hearing his extensive list of awards read at the pinning ceremony for the Seeley Lake Fire Department in June that we pursued him to do an article.

Never once has a veteran come to the Pathfinder and asked us to do a story on them. Often it takes many requests to get them to agree. Then we have the pleasure of listening and documenting their story as they remember it decades later.

Sackett and the other veterans we have highlighted don’t see themselves as heroes. Instead they say they were just doing their duty to this country and did the job they were trained to do.

For that and all the sacrifices our veterans have made, we thank them! It is a privilege to share their stories.


Reader Comments

greer1155 writes:

Andi, Thank you so much for doing both the original article as well as this additional story on Papa Jim. He was indeed, the real deal! He was always proud of his service but never bragged about his achievements. There were many times in the years I knew him I would think to myself, 'man, he would have to have lived 3 lifetimes to have done all the things he says he did!' and then he would show me pictures or something that would confirm the story. He truly was an incredible man! He spent his entire life serving his fellow mankind both in military service to his country and emergency services to his community and he never looked for praise or adoration for it. I appreciate very much your clearing up any confusion about his military service and while he didn't look for public acknowledgement of it, to have it questioned hurt him terribly. He appreciated your efforts to make it all clear. I am also very glad you got the story when you did. Sadly, Jim passed away today. He went peacefully with Mama by his side. I will be working with others to organize a memorial service, most likely for this coming Saturday, Aug 11th. Thank you again. Michael Greer


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