Citation:

HEROIC ACHIEVEMENT IN THE SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES WHILE SERVING AS EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE DISPOSAL TEAM LEADER, 1ST EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE COMPANY IN SUPPORT OF 3RD BATTALION, 1ST MARINES, REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM 7, 1ST MARINE DIVISION (FORWARD), FROM 15 MARCH TO 6 AUGUST 2010 IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. ON 6 MAY, SERGEANT JONES QUICKLY RESPONDED TO THE SITE OF AN IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICE(IED) ATTACK, CALMLY AND EFFICIENTLY SWEEPING TO THE CASUALTIES, RENDERING LIFE-SAVING MEDICAL TREATMENT AND ASSISTING IN THE AIR CASUALTY EVACUATION WHILE UNDER EFFECTIVE ENEMY FIRE. JUST HOURS LATER, HE PARTICIPATED IN A DARING, NIGHT-INFILTRATION TO REINFORCE A FRIENDLY UNIT PINNED DOWN IN A COMPOUND, RENDERING 2 IEDS SAFE WHILE UNDER DIRECT FIRE AND DESTROYING AN IED LABORATORY FULL OF IED COMPONENTS AND HME. DURING OPERATION ROADHOUSE II IN SAFAR BAZAAR, SERGEANT JONES ADEPTLY LOCATED NUMEROUS IEDS, SUCCESSFULLY RENDERING THEM SAFE, AND EXPERTLY ADVISED THE BATTALION AND COMPANY COMMANDERS ON COUNTER-IED TACTICS, TECHNIQUES AND PROCEDURES. SERGEANT JONES PROFICIENCY, DRIVE AND DEDICATION TO DUTY REFLECTED CREDIT UPON HIM AND WERE IN KEEPING WITH THE HIGHEST TRADITIONS OF THE MARINE CORPS AND THE UNITED STATES NAVAL SERVICE.

SOA:

Sergeant Johnny J. Jones was in receipt of imminent danger pay during this period.

Sergeant Johnny J. Jones is enthusiastically recommended for the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device for heroic service against the enemy as Assistant Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team Leader, 1st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, ISO 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, RCT-7, 1st MarDiv(FWD) during Operation Enduring Freedom. His heroic efforts in direct support of Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment and India and Lima Companies, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment in Garm Sir District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from 15 March to 6 August, 2010 make him unquestionably deserving of the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device.

While deployed to Garmsir, Sergeant Jones disposed of more than 1,800 lbs of enemy explosive material to include 70 IEDs and 2 weapons caches. Additionally, he conducted 10 post-blast analyses thereby revealing the enemy’s tactics and employment methods against coalition forces. Sergeant Jones routinely braved enemy fire in order to clear IEDs on critical supply routes that run through the company area of operations (AO). In support of Operation Roadhouse II, Sergeant Jones and his team assessed, swept and cleared multiple routes and intersections in the successful assault and clearance of Safar Bazaar.

On 6 May, 2010 while in direct support of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Sgt Jones responded to an unknown detonation 3km from their Patrol Base. While en route, the patrol received an order to conduct a dismounted MEDEVAC for a Marine Radio Operator 300m east of their position. As the patrol changed direction and approached a canal, the lead sweeper on point and the dog handler stepped out of sight. Immediately, the dog handler was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device. Without pause, Sgt Jones and his team leader employed their CMD’s and began to sweep through a poppy field toward the wounded Marine. Sgt Jones led the way, directing others to stay within his footprints. After identifying the severely injured Marine in the nearby canal, Sgt Jones assessed his injuries, cleared his airway, and assisted in lifting the dog handler from the canal. Sgt Jones then swept the opposite side of the canal and made his way back to the blast crater to conduct a Post Blast Analysis and search for secondary devices.

After Sgt Jones and his team cleared an LZ and the injured Marine was evacuated, the patrol continued en route to the initial MEDEVAC site. Undaunted by the previous exhaustive EOD procedures and Post Blast Analysis, Sgt Jones assisted two other Marines with the litter as they evacuated the Radio Operator 300m to Route Cowboys. While crossing the Cowboys canal, Sgt Jones and the patrol came under accurate enemy small arms fire from the direction of the blast site. With complete disregard for his own safety, Sgt Jones assisted in moving the wounded Marine to cover with the litter. After the enemy fire was silenced, Sgt Jones and his team patrolled back to their vehicles, clearing the route on foot.

Just hours later, Sgt Jones and his team were tasked to provide EOD support to a QRF mission executed by elements of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. Earlier in the day on 6 May, a combined W 2/2 and W 3/1 platoon had been in contact more than 20 kilometers south of Sgt Jones’ position. This combined unit had become encircled and was unable to move out a compound. Efforts to re-supply the unit were interdicted by the enemy, as he shot the rotor blade of a UH-1Y, along with a 3/1 leader that sought to coordinate the re-supply. Sgt Jones, after a multi-hour response to an IED call earlier in the day, welcomed the opportunity to assist his brothers.

He proceeded to join elements of F 2/2 and W 3/1 as they executed a combined mounted and dismounted night infiltration more than 20 kilometers south. On 7 May, after a 0405 link-up, the unit conducted a rapid mission analysis, received a fragmentary order, and then at daybreak, Sgt Jones’ team and six infantry squads went into the attack. This attack involved a movement to contact due south of the northern approaches to the Safar Bazaar. Throughout the first few hours of the operation, Sgt Jones was in direct fire contact with the enemy on at least 5 separate occasions. Simultaneously, Sgt Jones’ EOD team interrogated and destroyed an IED laboratory containing more than 400 pounds of HME and hundreds of IED components, assisted in the transport of 4 EPW’s, and rendered safe two 30-40 pound HME IED’s.

Specific to the IEDs, after Sgt Jones located the first IED and its two pressure initiation systems, he and his team leader rendered the device safe and destroyed the main charge by detonation. As the patrol egressed the area, they rounded a corner of a compound and approached an intersection 100m away. Exercising an acute sense of awareness coupled with experience and tactical reason, Sgt Jones called a halt to the patrol and proceeded alone to sweep the route and intersection. True to his assumption, Sgt Jones located a second IED in the intersection. With complete disregard for his own safety, Sgt Jones rendered the device safe and destroyed the main charge while the patrol took accurate enemy small arms fire. Sgt Jones’ quick thinking and reflexive, positive action ensured the safety of the patrol and allowed them to continue unabated with the mission.

In preparation for Battalion OPERATION ROADHOUSE II, Sergeant Jones and his Team Leader were attached to Lima Company. The purpose of this operation was to clear Safar Bazaar. Safar Bazaar is one of the 3 main Bazaars in the Garmsir District. Prior to its clearance, the enemy used Safar Bazaar to stage weapons, equipment and conduct logistical resupply. Safar Bazaar consists of a complex series of compounds bisected by main roads. The narrow alleys and significant blind spots provided ample concealment from friendly observation. The amount of trash and debris that littered the streets facilitated a three dimensional threat. As a result, the Bazaar was cleared in a slow deliberate manner. On a daily basis, Sergeant Jones risked his life in support of mission accomplishment. Often on his hands and knees, Sergeant Jones worked tirelessly to locate and remove improvised explosive devices.

Upon entrance into the Bazaar proper, Sergeant Jones and his Team Leader identified that the enemy had emplaced antipersonnel improvised explosive devices in order to target clearing forces. While making the initial breach into the Lumberyard, Sergeant Jones and his Team Leader worked tirelessly to identify improvised explosive devices. During the clearance of the Lumberyard, Sergeant Jones and his Team Leader interrogated and rendered 2 improvised explosive devices safe. Sergeant Jones efforts allowed the Battalion Task Force to establish a foothold in the Bazaar and conduct follow on missions. During OPERATION ROADHOUSE II, Sergeant Jones and his Team Leader responded to and rendered 10 improvised explosive devices safe. Additionally, this explosive ordnance disposal team conducted 5 post blast analyses during the operation. By examining improvised explosive device attacks, Sergeant Jones was able to make tactical recommendations to the Company Commander. Sergeant Jones is directly responsible for allowing the Battalion Task Force to utilize Main Supply Routes in order to conduct concurrent missions and re-supply.

On 6 August 2010, Sergeant Jones and his Team Leader were conducting clearance of a compound known as the “Taliban Hotel.” Intelligence had reported that this compound was an enemy strongpoint and it was believed to be heavily laden with improvised explosive devices. In support of the operation, Sergeant Jones and his Team Leader led the clearing force. While conducting operations, Sergeant Jones and his Team Leader identified an improvised explosive device.

After rendering the improvised explosive device safe, Sergeant Jones identified additional improvised explosive device making material in a compound. With disregard for his own personal safety, Sergeant Jones began interrogating the evidence and was attacked and severely wounded by an improvised explosive device. On a daily basis, Sergeant Jones risked his life in support of his mission. Sergeant Jones’ bravery and dedication was invaluable during OPERATION ROADHOUSE II. His awareness, composure, and willingness to assume great personal risk set the example for all Marines to follow.

In the six months that Sergeant Jones and his team operated in Garmsir, they conducted 10 post blast analyses and 2 sensitive site exploitations on enemy compounds in the Battalion AO. The information that was obtained through these post blast analyses and exploitations was then subsequently disseminated to the lowest levels, thereby enabling the squads to update their Counter IED measures and undoubtedly saving lives.

During his time in Garmsir, Sergeant Jones played an instrumental role in the successes of both Company I and Company L, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines and Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines. His roles in multiple patrols, raids and operations including Operation Roadhouse II, truly contributed to the forward progress in Garmsir. His decisiveness and willingness to assume risk in order to help others was evident on a daily basis throughout the deployment. Sergeant Jones has performed with distinction and his diligence, determination, and selflessness have provided an example for all to emulate.–