Sunday marks 13 years since Johnny Joey Jones survived stepping on an Improvised Explosive Device in Safar Bazaar, Afghanistan. The Taliban, aware the forces were coming, “left a minefield in their wake in the hopes of inflicting as much harm on us as possible, long after they departed,” Jones writes in his first book, “Unbroken Bonds of Battle,” published in June.
Then a 24-year-old bomb technician for the Marines, Jones had been clearing streets and buildings for five days, as his two-man team discovered more than 30 bombs.
“It blew up underneath me,” Jones says in a recent interview. “I landed on my back. The dust cloud went away… I felt my face before anything, oddly enough, and so I wasn’t sure if it was still there, as it should be.”
Jones lost both legs above the knee due to the explosion. He was hired as a Fox News contributor in 2019, offering opinions on veteran affairs. But his role expanded as a sought-after voice on a variety of topics, including politics and pop culture. Jones has been a substitute host of “Fox & Friends,” “Fox & Friends Weekend,” and the network’s primetime programming.
“Be thankful for that and go do great things,“ Jones, 37, says. “We celebrate it like a birthday every year.
He views Aug. 6, 2010, as his “Alive Day,” a term referring to the day when a veteran nearly dies in action but lives.
Jones had a modest upbringing in Dalton, Georgia. His dad was a brick and block mason; his mom cleaned houses. Jones enlisted after being dumped by his high school sweetheart, Meg Garrison. “’Listen,’” he recalls telling her at her house, “’I’m not joining the Marine Corps because of you, but you’re the only reason I would stay home.’ She looked at me and smiled and said, ‘Well, have fun.’ She was pretty resolute in her decision making, and it was up to me to prove her wrong.”
Garrison showed Jones that he needed to mature and learn to put others first: “I didn’t understand the nuance of what being selfless meant, and the Marine Corps taught that to me.”
Jones learned about Explosive Ordnance Disposal while serving in Iraq in 2007. These specialists were just the epitome of selflessness,” he says. “They’re basically saying, ‘These bombs are here to kill us. If somebody has to walk down there and take them apart, let it be me,’ and I love that.”
The night before his accident, Jones lay beneath his truck on a rack, complaining of mosquito bites and hoping to sleep in before more IEDs were found. But no such luck: Jones’ good friend, Corporal Daniel Greer, woke him, requesting Jones’ help investigating a storage unit. While analyzing a flare, Jones stepped on an IED.
He noticed his legs were partially missing and went to reach for his tourniquets. But he couldn’t see or feel his left arm.
“I actually was afraid I didn’t have one,” Jones says. It was tucked behind his back. He tried to use his right arm, but his forearm was severed. “The only thing holding it together was the muscle on the back, and so it was useless to me.”
Marines came to retrieve Jones and Greer. As Jones didn’t see any obvious wounds on Greer, he thought he’d only been rendered unconscious. But Greer had suffered a fatal traumatic brain injury.
Source : USA Today