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."


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A soldier takes a selfie, while two other soldiers pose far apart in the background. - Army Spc. Samuel Shepard and other members of the 9th Hospital Center, 1st Medical Brigade, pose for a photo while maintaining social distancing while deployed to New York City to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, April 2, 2020.

Smoke billows from a burning ship. - The U.S. aircraft carrier Bunker Hill burns after being struck by two Japanese kamikaze aircraft, May 11, 1945, in the waters between Okinawa and Kyushu, Japan.

Black-and-white image of a large ship at anchor. - The USS Comfort serves as an ambulance ship, around 1918.

A World War II-era poster features a servicemember and urges Americans to aid the war effort. - A War Production Board poster encourages Americans to produce more planes and other items for the war effort.