Navy awards medal to sailor caught in ISIS fight for 10 hours

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class Jeffrey Thomas was awarded the Silver Star Medal by Adm. Bill Moran for his bravery in the fight against ISIS. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Christopher A. Veloicaza)

The U.S. Navy awarded the Silver Star Medal on Wednesday to a sailor credited with bravely protecting his unit’s lives during a 10-hour fight with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, reports said.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class Jeffrey Thomas was awarded the medal at a ceremony in Coronado, Calif. for Thomas’ “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy,” the Navy said.

“Today we recognize the heroic actions of individuals and the legacy of their teammates,” Adm. Bill Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, said when awarding the medal. “This recognition is well deserved, and it’s an acknowledgement of bravery, training, and dedication to team and country.”

In October 2016, the unit was conducting clearance operations overseas when they got caught in a battle with ISIS, the Navy said. The fight would ultimately last 10 hours.

The unit’s lead vehicle was reportedly hit with an explosive device, leaving one of the soldiers dead.

Despite ISIS firing shots their way, Thomas reportedly responded to the situation and began clearing the area of more explosives so the medics could get through, the Navy said.

He later led the convoy out of the minefield, allowing them to reach the medical evacuation zone, the report said.

“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,” Cmdr. Geoff Townsend, commanding officer of EODMU 3 said. “His actions that day saved the lives of his teammates and exceeded all measures of selflessness and devotion to his country.”

The ceremony also included the presentation of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (with Combat Distinguishing Device) to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Senior Chief Jon Hamm and the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” to Lt. Morgan Dahl, the Navy said.