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 woman holds a fencing sword. - Army Sgt. Samantha Schultz, a pentathlete and member of the Army's World Class Athlete Program, initially struggled in the fencing competition, but Army Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Bowsher, Schultz's coach, said the pentathlete has made strides at becoming more aggressive.

A young sailor in a Navy uniform and flat-top cap poses for a photo. - Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard D. DeWert, hospital corpsman and Medal of Honor recipient.

A Marine poses for a photo next to a dog. - Marine Corps Sgt. Jenna Cauble poses for a photo with Bbutler, a military working dog, in July 2015. Cauble and Bbutler served together until November 2017 at Marine Corps Base Smedley D. Butler, Okinawa, Japan. Bbutler was retired from military service in May 2020, and reunited with Cauble Feb. 3, 2021, who had put in adoption papers before returning to the U.S. in 2017.

A man poses for a photo. - Dan Blocker poses for a photograph dressed as his "Bonanza" character, March 1, 1968.