The book Full Duty follows the career of a small town boy who graduated from the University of Kentucky during the Depression. He had been in the ROTC and when WWII hit, found himself reporting to General Patton at Ft. Benning, GA as a second lieutenant.
Patton saw something in this young man, named Laban Jackson, and put him on his staff as his Headquarters Commandant. He made Jackson’s life hell as he geared up for war. But he also promoted Jackson three times. Jackson soon got to know General and Mrs. Patton, and so did Jackson’s wife, who contributed to this book.
Going in on the invasion of North Africa with Patton, Jackson and his 1,200 direct reports set up a Headquarters company on the beaches until the battle was won and the French were defeated. Then came the lull, when Jackson met the Sultan of Morocco and Winston Churchill and King George VI, and Eisenhower and others.
General Eisenhower sent Patton a wire directing Jackson to take a cadre of men to Oujda to set up the Fifth Army. Then General Mark Clark came along and took it over. Under new management, Jackson went in on the invasions of Salerno and Anzio and personally deposed Prince Borghese of his castle.
Battle followed battle and Jackson slogged his way to the north of Italy on foot all time, living out of doors among the death and destruction that accompanied fierce battle with the German army.
Full Duty is a book that follows Jackson and thus, the Fifth Army, as it went through Rome and up into the far reaches of the Italian peninsula, stopping only when President Truman dropped the bomb on Japan.
Although a middle manager in the war, Laban Jackson was nonetheless a true American hero who survived not only thousands of German bullets but General Patton, himself. Jackson’s medals and his life after the war prove Jackson’s heroism. He leaves behind a legacy of American values and an admiring cousin.