On this thread shall be posted the tomes of those that have given the ultimate sacrifice. I am a Marine Corps brat, and have an affinity for Paratroopers as well. My failings should in no way make any less the sacrifices of those that are not Infantry. Post memorials here as any see fit with the respect deserved.
In Memoriam: Ranger Gilbert Jenkins
Major, US Army, Retired
The following biography and tribute was written by USARA President Jim Grimshaw following Ranger Jenkins’ death.
USARA mourns the death of Major Gilbert K. Jenkins, USA Ret.
Ranger Jenkins, Life Member of USARA, died on 7 April 2003 at the Peachtree Christian Hospice, Duluth, GA. He was buried 10 April at Hillcrest Cemetary, Savannah, GA with full military honors provided by 1st Bn 75th Rangers.
He was a native of Savannah and a resident of Suwanee, GA. He was a graduate of Armstrong State College, Savannah.
Gil was an enlisted man in the 82d Abn Div, 101st Abn Div and Special Forces and served in Laos. He enlisted in the Army when he was 15 years old and was in the 82d Abn Div. When they learned he was underage, he was discharged, only to join up again a couple of years later. Upon graduation from Infantry OCS, he was Honor Graduate of his Ranger Course.
He served in the 5th and 6th Special Forces Groups and the 82d Abn Div as an officer, as well as Forces Command. He spent four tours in Vietnam, graduated from Helicopter Flight School and commanded an Aviation Company as a Captain in Vietnam. He was a Ranger Instructor and S4 in the Florida Ranger Camp, Auxiliary Field #7 in 1967/68 with me in between Vietnam tours and flight school. In 1966 as a First Lieutenant, he was assigned to the 5th SFG Mobile Guerrilla Strike Force, “Mike Force”, and was a key leader in two highly successful “Blackjack” operations deep into enemy territory and far from friendly support.
He was a battalion S3 and XO in the 82d Abn Div. At FORSCOM he was the Ranger Coordinator when the 1st and 2d Ranger Battalions were activated, and his primary responsibility was insuring the battalions had the personnel, weapons and equipment to fight on to the Ranger objective. He evaluated 1/75 in an ORT. He was a key player in the process to approve and organize Delta Force and evaluated their combat readiness. He was highly thought of by these units and senior officers because of his leadership, special operations skills and passionate support of Rangers and Delta Force.
But most of all, he was an extraordinary husband and father. He was nominated to be the Aide-de-Camp of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, but he chose to retire so he could devote more time to his family.
Gil was my best Special Forces/Ranger friend. The “Big Ranger in the Sky” told me I should make sure everyone understands that I love him and I will miss him. He was a great influence in my life, a great warrior hero to his family, his country and most of all, to me. Gil was the personification of the quiet professional, but when he spoke, he meant what he said.
Gil is survived by his lovely wife Joyce, three sons and several grandchildren, his father and sister and several other family members. His son Keith was a member of 1/75 in the early 1980’s and his son Tracey served in 1/75 and then 3/75 in Mogadishu. His son Bobby is a successful businessman in Florida.
I forced Gil to join USARA about three years ago when we were having dinner in Savannah. I threatened to whip his ass if he didn’t join and write me a check on the spot for a Life Membership! Gil was the personification of an Airborne Ranger Infantryman Special Forces Hero and he will always be with me in spirit! De Oppresso Liber and Rangers Lead The Way!
Please accept my apologies for indulging your association president in expressing his feelings for his best friend. I am saddened by Gil’s passing, but I am rejoicing in the knowledge that he is with the “Big Ranger in the Sky” and is in the best Patrol Base leading one of God’s patrols.
(signed) USARA President Jim Grimshaw
Edited for a mis-spell; “Major” does not refer to myself, check the link.