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Navy Tech Jeffrey Thomas Awarded Silver Star

jeffrey thomas

By Debbie Gregory.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class Jeffrey Thomas has received the Silver Star for his actions during a deadly 10-hour firefight with Islamic State militants that helped his fellow sailors navigate a minefield.

On September 20, 2017, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran recognized Thomas for his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

“Today we recognize the heroic actions of individuals and the legacy of their teammates. This recognition is well deserved, and it’s an acknowledgment of bravery, training, and dedication to team and country,” said Moran.

On Oct. 20, 2016, while conducting combined clearance operations, Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Thomas exited his vehicle as bullets, rockets and mortar rounds targeted his unit. Thomas swept the area for explosives just after a roadside bomb struck another vehicle, mortally wounding a sailor. His actions allowed medics to get through the minefield and reach injured sailors to provide critical care.

“No one who was present on the 20th of October knew better than Jeff the dangers he was facing,” said Navy Cmdr. Geoff Townsend, the commander of Thomas’ unit. “After the EOD supervisor, a friend and mentor, was mortally wounded, Jeff knowingly exposed himself to hazards in order to protect the lives of his teammates and brothers in arms, and secure a [medical evacuation] for his wounded teammate. His actions that day saved the lives of his teammates and exceeded all measures of selflessness and devotion to his country.”

While the Navy declined to identify the sailor who died in the attack, the Pentagon previously announced Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Finan, 34, was killed in action by an IED in Iraq on the same date, and Finan was an EOD technician assigned to the same unit as Thomas.

Also honored were Lt. Morgan Dahl, who received the Bronze Star with “V” for valor, and  Senior Chief Petty Officer Jon Hamm who was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat “C.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Military Veteran, Now a Congressman, Fighting Veteran Suicides

mast oath

U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL) has seen, first-hand, the impact that war can have on soldiers returning home.

The military veteran served as an explosive ordnance disposal technician with the elite 28th Ordnance Company in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. On September 19, 2010, while clearing a path for United States Army Rangers in Kandahar, Mast took a wrong step into an IED along the road. The explosion resulted in the amputation of both his legs and one of his fingers

Mast is committed to doing all that he can to increase mental health resources for veterans and to reduce veteran suicide rates. To that end, he is promoting the unique idea of a pledge to combat suicide among the nation’s veterans.

Troops leaving the service could take a voluntary oath to “to preserve the values I have learned, to maintain my body and my mind, and to not bring harm to myself without speaking to my fellow veterans first.”

The “Oath of Exit” passed the U.S. House of Representatives on July 14th as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Part of the pledge would also commit troops who are being discharged to “continue to be the keeper of my brothers- and sisters-in-arms” in addition to the United States and the Constitution.

After his injury and during his recovery, Mast’s father was the one who inspired him by telling him to ensure that the greatest service he gives to the country is still ahead of him.

After his retirement from the Army, he continued working in counter-terrorism and national defense as an Explosive Specialist with the Department of Homeland Security.

His service now continues in the political arena.

Mast is in his first term representing the 18th Congressional District of Florida.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.