Corporal Receives Silver Star For Selfless Heroism On Front Lines
(April 16, 2009)
Cpl. Jason Jones earned the Silver Star Medal for his actions
during a firefight in which he went above and beyond the call of duty while
attached to Embedded Training Team 5-3 in Afghanistan.
||CAMP SCHWAB, OKINAWA, Japan (MCN
- April 10, 2009) — The day started like any other
day in Eastern Afghanistan, moderate temperature, sunny; hardly a cloud in the
But for three Marines, a platoon of Afghan National soldiers and a platoon of
soldiers from the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne, July 13 would turn to bloodshed,
sacrifice and one Marine's tale of heroism.
The U.S. - Afghan team was attacked by more than 200 enemy forces firing
small-arms and rocket-propelled grenades.
Many members of the team became disorganized and discouraged facing the
Cpl. Jason Jones, one of three Marines embedded with the two platoons of
soldiers, seized the initiative and began firing his weapon at the enemy while
encouraging and guiding his comrades to organize a counter attack.
Jones' actions grew bolder as casualties mounted and the firefight intensified.
He sprinted across the terrain under heavy enemy fire to a wounded Afghan
soldier and pulled him to safety as rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms
fire exploded around them.
But the fight was not over.
Members of the U.S. Army platoon were pinned
"We got a call on the radio saying 'we're dying, we're dying and I'm the last
one left,'" said Jones, the 24 year-old native of San Angelo, Texas. "I figured
we needed to do something about it."|
With bullets still flying, Jones again crossed 130 meters of fire-swept ground
wielding a M-240B machine gun. Jones, with fire support from other members of
the team, suppressed the attackers long enough to allow him to reach the wounded
soldiers and provide life-saving aid.
For his valor, heroism and bravery under fire, Jones was awarded the Silver
Star, the third highest decoration a U.S. service member can receive.
Jones is a four-year veteran of the Marine Corps. He graduated from Grape Creek
High School, class of 2003, in San Angelo. He works in the logistics field with
Headquarters and Service Company, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.
However, while in Afghanistan, Jones was serving a 10-month auxiliary billet as
a mentor to the Afghan National Army while attached to Embedded Training Team
According to Jones, he developed a bond with his Afghan and U.S. Army
counterparts - a bond that was tested under fire and survived through resolve.
"Whether it's a Marine, sailor, or soldier, you can only hear suffering for so
long before you have to do something about it," said Jones.
Jones said he took it upon himself to do exactly what Marines are taught - lead
from the front.
It is easy to say Jones' actions saved lives that day, but they may have had
another lasting effect.
"His actions built confidence and motivation in the Afghan National Army," said
Sgt. Maj. Samuel Schmidt the sergeant major of 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine
Division. "He was essentially a catalyst in changing the tide of the battle."
Though his actions are looked at as heroic by some, Jones was a bit more humble
in describing his actions following an awards ceremony on Camp Schwab April 2
where Lt. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer, III Marine Expeditionary Force commanding
general, pinned on his Silver Star.
"We were just taking care of business," Jones said. "A firefight that big opens
your eyes to what war is really like. I wouldn't call myself a hero. The real
heroes are the ones that gave their (lives) - and I'm wearing this medal for
Article and photo by LCpl. Paul D. Zellner
Marine Corps Bases Japan
Marine Corps News
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