Army Staff Sgt. James B. Jones, a Ranger squad leader, and Sgt. Derek J. Anderson, a Ranger team leader, were part of a Dec. 2, 2014, mission to clear a series of enemy compounds that resulted in 25 enemies killed and both Rangers receiving Silver Stars.
Army Rangers fire in a training exercise. (Photo: U.S. Army Spc. Steven Hitchcock)
The men were on a mission to secure an objective in Nangahar Province, Afghanistan, that included multiple compounds and a suspected media center. While heading from the first compound to the media center, the Rangers and their Afghan partners came under attack by two enemy fighters.
The insurgents managed to hit the Rangers with an ambush, but Jones and Anderson answered them immediately. Jones began firing back and directing Afghan special ops to fire on the fighters while Anderson shot at one fighter and then charged towards the other. Meanwhile, other fighters were directing machine gun fire and RPGs at the Rangers.
The first fighter quickly died, but the second ran for cover. Jones followed him to a trench and threw in a grenade, then Anderson fired on the insurgent to force his head down until the grenade went off.
Army Rangers conduct a mission in Iraq in 2007. (Photo: US Army)
At the following compound, a group of six enemy fighters came out of the building and maneuvered on the Ranger and Afghan force. Anderson spotted the attack coming and, along with Staff Sgt. Travis Dunn, killed five of the enemy before the last one was killed by a helicopter.
At a follow-on compound, three barricaded fighters engaged the Rangers with small arms and grenades. Anderson moved forward with Dunn to stop the incoming fire. Dunn fired a grenade from his M320 into the compound but was hit in the process. Anderson dragged Dunn out of the firefight and into cover, likely saving his life.
Army Rangers conduct a mission in Afghanistan. (Photo: US Army)
Jones came upon one Ranger who was injured while attempting to clear a room with three barricaded shooters. The Ranger had been shot, and Jones rushed in, ignoring the enemy fire, to rescue him.
Under heavy machine gun fire, Jones directed the fire from a Gustav recoilless rifle team to clear the barricaded shooters.
The mission successfully cleared multiple compounds and killed 25 enemy fighters. Jones and Anderson received Silver Stars during a ceremony at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, on April 29, 2015.