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."
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