Portraits in Courage Feature - Vol V
Master Sergeant Neil Jones

Stationed at: Incirlik Air Base, Turkey

While deployed to the 755th Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Flight in Afghanistan, Master Sergeant Neil Jones faced a tremendous challenge on Christmas Eve 2009. Sergeant Jones and two other EOD technicians were inserted by helicopter to a remote location where a Canadian engineer unit had been hit by an improvised explosive device (IED).

Sergeant Jones and his team completed a post-blast analysis and requested air extraction, but air assets were unavailable and the team was directed to meet a ground convoy nearly three kilometers north. The team merged with the surviving Canadian engineers and departed on foot, but shortly into the journey, a teammate broke his ankle while crossing a creek.

Sergeant Jones skillfully provided battlefield first-aid while the Coalition team requested a medical evacuation for the injured Soldier. Instead, the team was instructed to carry the Soldier to a new extraction location. Unfazed, the unit carried their teammate the remaining two kilometers.

During the combined team's movement, three other recovery squads were hit by IEDs as they attempted to reach the planned extraction point. Each time, Sergeant Jones coordinated for alternative extraction and aided the wounded personnel. After the third IED detonation, Sergeant Jones and a group of American and Canadian forces banded together to suppress enemy fire emanating from an elevated housing area. With the area finally secure, Sergeant Jones and his team were able to reach the recovery vehicles and proceed to a Canadian outpost.

Throughout the ordeal, Sergeant Jones responded with poise and professionalism. His leadership coupled with his assistance with the medical triage enabled all the wounded Soldiers to make a full recovery.