Through a Firefight, Continuous Courage

March 15, 2019 ,

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Thomas was on a deployment supporting the fight against ISIS in 2016.

He was conducting clearance operations on Oct. 20, when the lead vehicle in his convoy was struck by an improvised explosive device, mortally wounding one of his teammates.

An explosive ordnance disposal technician, Thomas exited his vehicle and swept the area for other explosive devices despite nearby mortar and small-arms fire, allowing medics to reach the wounded teammate.

Thomas guided the other vehicles out of the minefield too, ensuring their safe arrival at a medical evacuation zone. 

Ultimately, the group engaged in a 10-hour firefight with ISIS forces. Throughout that time, Thomas maneuvered through heavy fire to fight the enemy and clear paths for his teammates. 

"No one that was present ... knew better than Jeff the dangers he was facing," Navy Cmdr. Geoff Townsend said at a ceremony to present the Silver Star to Thomas in September 2017. "His actions that day saved the lives of his teammates and exceeded all measures of selflessness and devotion to his country."


A man with a beard poses for a photo. - Army Sgt. Richard Enderlin earned the Medal of Honor for his efforts in the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.

Gold star pin on grey background. - A Gold Star lapel pin represents the loss of a service member in combat. It is worn by the families of the fallen.

A man wearing a cap looks into the distance. - Navy Chief Petty Officer Ubaldo Huaromo mans the rails aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort as it leaves Norfolk, Va., April 1, 2015, in support of Continuing Promise 2015. The deployment conducted civil-military operations -- including humanitarian-civil assistance, subject matter expert exchanges, medical, dental, veterinary and engineering support and disaster response -- to partner nations in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

A pitcher throws a ball. - Nolan Ryan, then with the Houston Astros, pitches at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, June 28, 1983.