Cody Jones, Vic and Taliban discussed on This is War

This is War


Truck and radios gone. We don't know where it is. So we're going to have to push back protocol might make you safer, but it doesn't necessarily make your life easier that the radio was lost seemed as if it would have been a foregone conclusion long before the marines headed back to find it. And knowing that the brass from the rounds they spent might one day be returned shrapnel from an I only served as a reminder of their enemies. Patients and resourcefulness still, you have to behave as if doing your job will pay off after all. What alternative do you have? In this case, there was an indirect route between that firefight and intelligence that would yield something way more valuable to the. Taliban than an encrypted American radio. The British SAS had been operating in the area and they had a lead on Taliban doctor and officer after the firefight word came that the two are hiding in a compound in the next village over if anything requires faith in your training. It is clearing possibly heavily guarded compound room by room. When we get a truck. Once we get there, we have security posted up on the outside and make sure no one's gonna start shooting towards us while we're going into kick the door in and go after the after this guy. So security set up, we're good. We push into go into the house. We kick in the door clear that first room and no one's there. We start patrolling around in chlorine room to room, and finally, we get to the third room. We go in, there's a machine gun posted up facing towards the door, and we got lucky when we got there, the guy was asleep or something. He wasn't right behind the machine gun. So when that door. Didn't he saw running toward the machine gun distort shooting at us, and that's when we own loaded on him and draw team, and you just see blood and brain matter and everything everywhere. And then we'll go into the next room attached to that room. And there's the Taliban doctor. We put a blackout goggles and a holdover face and flexi kills on them and get them out little reopen the trucks and take him back. And then from there we'll give them over to the head team where they took over and the question a little bit. And then they turn them over to the little prison. They have set up on the other neck or they would question more. The MP's would question before they shipped out to get more when the marines kicked in the door and we're staring down the barrel of that machine gun that should have been it what's more if they take in the extra second to marvel at their luck, it easily could have run out if each second of firefight felt like ten minutes, how much longer did the heartbeat between recognizing that the gun was. Manned and eliminating the person running toward it seem. But often success is within seconds or inches, ignoring fear and doubt is the difference time and again, and it is the kind of thing that reinforces itself until what you think you should do and what your training says. You should do are indistinguishable from one another. Still to be clear. Cody was in his element each time. He was in a firefight. He felt even more confident than the time before after all, he'd been preparing mentally for firefights for most of his life for him, there were just two duties keeping himself in his marines alive and preparing for fatherhood. The second was the more difficult mountain to climb for me most of the time during now moves either. Okay. I'm asleep or in the little center were they had computers and phones hooked up, and I'm calling back to my wife or getting on the computer Skyping talker, and see her and find out how her Heller the pregnancies. Go on and everything. So we we some downtime. But I mean, I it was mainly, like I said, me just getting if all isn't asleep, where we weren't doing anything. I was on the phone with my wife trying to get everything, making sure she's being taken care of and everything's going good with the pregnancy when he left twenty nine palms on November eighth Cody Jones had resigned himself to missing his son's birth. For him. It was just one small unfortunate part of being a marine, a tiny sacrifice compared with what he knew others had been asked to give. It just was something that he had learned to live with. Plus the time was really passing for him. After all. The first few weeks of his deployment had been insanely busy and exhausting, but it was the satisfying kind of exhausting knowing that contributed something important and had been true both to yourself and to your training. But as it would turn out Cody wouldn't even be an Afghan STAN for the whole tour. In fact, his combat. Experienced would extend to just a little more than six weeks NF ghanistan and his final one would take place while he was vehicle commander during what started out as a routine mail run. Why's patrol? We Dave or getting ready to go. We just got a brand new truck because our old truck died after one of the firefights we got into, we leave leather neck with a bunch of and stuff. We eat the PB bowl, Dak and tell us when we get there, you guys are going to have to go on patrol with this air force and army unit, and they're Vic that supposed to blow up by these before you get to. So we had Vic one with the mine roller, and then these guys and then my vehicle was Vic, three. All we're now on the main road because we're with this vehicle that's supposed to blow up by these before we get to get out to this town and there's three guys out along one of the walls of one of the buildings and my target or goes eight Jones. I got a bad phone about this like, no here you. I was like, something's up, sits effacing. They get storage and get popped off. F- so they won rolls past these three guys. Then this army air force vehicle rolls, pass them, and then on my vehicle gets to him. Next thing he knows a lot, boom. I mean for a split second, everything. All all I see was black. And then next thing I know our truck is being pivoted pushed off the road and we're falling down to the ground when you have a ten thousand pound truck being coming in the air and you fill it fallen down the ground. I mean, there's only one logical explanation. You just hit something big and it was a night eighty. Okay, you're the field commander and your truck was just blown up. He run down the response protocol from memory, check for casualties. And if there are any secure their safe swift evacuation saying, I loco over my driver and he's yelling. I like miles down. You good. And he goes, yeah. And then I sort checking all my guys in the back to make sure they're good. So I looked to the Baggins like, hey, doc, everyone good back there and goes, yeah, we're good. I made sure my gunner was good, and my Cormon looks. Amigos, hey Jones. Are you good. Yeah. And at the same time I'm saying, yeah, I sort of looked down and I see my right foot. My boot is facing straight ahead and inside my boot, I can see my heel poking out the left side of my boot at ninety degrees angle. And then I looked over at my left leg and I'd go to try to move my ankle and my foot just flopping dangling like, yeah, I'm pretty sure I broke both my ankles doc. When you both are the casualty and the commander, the responsibilities don't change a lot. Cody was conscious and the pain hadn't kicking yet. So he made the most of his time by making a plan for executing his own extraction from the vehicle, and then starting that plans execution throughout he focused on the protocols, what made sense, and most important for him what his junior marines would take away from the experience. Marines prop one another up with a self imposed responsibility to rise to the levels. They've seen others rise to through the pain and even a little bit of fear. This is what cody's focus was rising to the levels that he expected of himself as a marine. So I had my Turk gunner what's the side where the guys were at that building? 'cause ROY till right of us is just opened filled and I had my Turk or my dismal get out and grab the litter of the side box and open up the litter and slide it in so that I can pull myself up in Dhaka get me on the litter, insert, treat my wounds. And at the same time I'm telling her gunner to get to pup right smoke, which means we've got a casualty, and then he gets on the radio and sorts talk into Vic one telling them what's going on. My dog sitting there splitting me up and I'm sitting here going doc. Give me any painkillers because at this point drones were off in the pains at me and goes, no, I can't. I don't want you to go in shock or this. That and the other is you gotta be kidding me? All right. I trust, you know what you're doing. Man are look up, but my gun. Jose, eight army because his last name was on a dare, but we just call them army. It was a army gimme a cigarette. So he cigarette and a lighter cigarette and Vic, one backs up to Vic, so just open the doors and have the doors open back to back to somewhat of an armor sealed is transferred from one victim next getting the next Vic and my sexually Coronas like Jones. Are you smoking a cigarette? I was like, yeah, he was put shit out Brule. I just got blown up. Leave me alone, declared a landing zone, and Cody was medevac doubt. He got word to his wife that he was hurt, but alive and eventually surrender to the morphine he was given before the first of what would turn out to be a litany of surgeries when you're a marine, you do what you have to do, not because you don't have another choice, but because you made your choice when you were sworn in he surrendered to your training and you live up to expectations and set examples for other marines in a way that challenges them to resume of the bar. You set. Then you see if you can rise above theirs, but as the ambulance pulled up to the plane that would take him home, all of the things he did and the examples he set came back to him in a way Cody never could have hoped or even expected LA buddy no toward from fast company, he was there. And so it was a bunch of other NCO's from fast company from his la- tune all at the flight deck to meet me there. And they carried me from the ambulance onto the plane, the semi back to the states which was actually need because everyone else they're go walked on a regular nursing staff stuff. So for me, it was something big specials. I was able to be shipped off and sent home by my brothers as an extra piece of luck. Cody was able to choose between being shipped to Bethesda and being shipped to San Antonio. It couldn't have been an easier decision for him to make. He still had his legs and was in. A massive amount of pain, but he would be stateside with Alexis soon enough and he would be there when his son was born. But Cody Jones was on the verge of finding out just how much more pain he could take at how much more he had left to lose and what it would take to come back from everything that he had endured. When

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