He got to fulfill a lifelong dream, but his life was cut so tragically short.
A member of the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) from Flushing died early on Sunday morning in a single-car crash a short distance from West Point in upstate New York, it was announced.
Brandon T. Jackson, 20, was a defensive back for the Army’s football team and pursuing a military career when he was killed at about 1:20 a.m. on Sept. 11 in the crash that occurred in the town of Croton-on-Hudson, about 26 miles south of West Point. The incident remains under investigation.
Jackson was a cadet in the USMA’s class of 2019 and a member of the E Company’s Second Regiment. He was also a budding star on Army’s football team; he had two tackles and an assist in Army’s 31-14 win over Rice at West Point on Saturday afternoon.
Jackson was also a football star at Flushing’s Holy Cross High School, where he graduated in 2014. Tom Pugh was Holy Cross’ head coach for Jackson’s three years on the school’s varsity team. Pugh said Jackson became an All-City football player and a “quiet leader” of the entire team.
“He just did his job every day and was a great teammate,” Pugh said. “He was a kid that nobody didn’t like. Everybody loved him — the teachers, students, teammates. That’s the kind of personality he had. You could always count on him.”
Pugh, who also served as Jackson’s guidance counselor, noted that Brandon excelled as a student and on the SATs, turning into a solid recruit for Army.
In a statement posted on the school website, Holy Cross noted that “the entire school is in mourning over the untimely, unexpected passing” of Jackson.
“We ask that you please pray for his loved ones during this time and speak of Brandon’s amazing smile, accomplishments, and all of the positive memories shared with him. Our hearts are broken,” the statement noted.
Away from the football field at the USMA, Jackson was majoring in management in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership and a member of the Cultural Affairs Club. He was an avid bicyclist and loved playing chess and basketball.
“Brandon grew up watching Army football on television,” Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen Jr., superintendent of the USMA, said in a letter to students. “Attending West Point and playing for the Army football team as a defensive back was the culmination of a lifelong dream. Following the example of his mother, an Iraq War veteran and member of the U.S. Army Reserves, Brandon was proud to serve. He represented West Point values in all aspects of his life.”
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.