Explosive Ordnance Disposal 1st Class Jeffrey Thomas was awarded the Silver Star during a Sept. 20 awards ceremony for his actions during a lengthy firefight with ISIS forces, according to a Navy press release.
Adm. Bill Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, presented Thomas with the award for his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.”
On October 20, 2016, the lead vehicle in Thomas’ convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device, mortally wounding one of his teammates.
A 10-hour firefight ensued, during which Thomas repeatedly maneuvered through heavy small arms, RPG and mortar fire to sweep for additional explosives, enabling medics to reach the disabled vehicle and care for casualties.
Thomas then guided the vehicles out of the minefield, ensuring safe transport to the evacuation zone.
“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 MEDEVAC for his wounded teammate,” said Cmdr. Geoff Townsend, commanding officer, EODMU 3. “His actions that day saved the lives of his teammates and exceeded all measures of selflessness and devotion to his country.”
Mackenzie Wolf is an editorial intern for Military Times.