In 1956 I arrived in Akasaka in Tokyo on assignment to a quiet part of the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps (the “CIC”) called the Third Operations Group. I had graduated from college, received a commission as a military intelligence officer, and completed training at the intelligence school at Fort Holabird in Maryland. I had applied to and was accepted at the University of Michigan Law School for the year 1956, and Michigan graciously deferred my entry for two years and let me work for the CIC in Japan. Such a deal!
My job in Tokyo was to study and gather intelligence on the operations of Japanese labor unions, with an eye on the Japanese Communist Party. I occupied the “union desk,” a position previously held by one John Jackson, who, like I, was working for the famous intelligence captain, Luke Moore. By the time of my arrival, Jackson was back in the United States. I did not meet him. He left Japan with a marvelous and sterling reputation. I had a terrific time in Tokyo and from there went to Taiwan in 1958 to help establish an intelligence school for the Chinese Nationalist Army.
After my 1956–58 Far East stint, I never saw any of my intelligence co-workers again, with two exceptions. Jackson Frost, with me at Fort Holabird, was in my 1958–61 law school class. And—small world—when I returned to Ann Arbor in about 1968 to interview law students for my firm McDermott Will & Emery LLP, I discovered that a John Jackson was on the law faculty. Common name, could it be the same Jackson? (Note also that Frost was a “Jackson.”)
At the end of a long day of Michigan Law interviews, I climbed Stason’s Tower to seek out this Professor Jackson, bursting into his office, describing my Tokyo labor desk, finding that it was indeed a small world and he did indeed remember Capt. Luke Moore and our wonderful unit. The professor was busy and I was exhausted, so we had no time for small talk or to reminisce, but we agreed that it was most unlikely that we should meet for the first time on the grounds of the Law Quad.
It saddened me to read John Jackson’s obituary in the Law Quadrangle. I noted another coincidence—that John was born in Kansas City and earned his undergraduate degree at Princeton, same as my friends and 1961 law classmates Jim Adler and Irv Hockaday. I imagined that John’s penchant for international trade and treaty was sparked by his time in Japan. He was a good man, and I was happy to have had the chance to meet him.
—James “Mack” Trapp, ’61