Marines


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U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Corey Jones, a KC-130J Super Hercules pilot with Fleet Replacement Detachment (right) shakes hand with Maj. Gen. Michael Cederholm, Commanding General of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, during an awards ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, Feb. 28, 2022. Jones, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for conducting an emergency landing after another aircraft collided with his KC-130J Super Hercules. Jones’ piloting skills and timely decisions during the most critical moments of the 12 minutes from mid-air impact to landing are the reasons the entire aircrew were able to walk off the aircraft and are alive today. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt Servante R. Coba)

Photo by Sgt. Servante Coba

2nd MAW Marine awarded for heroism and extraordinary actions

2 Mar 2022 | 1st Lt. Greg Kosiras 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

Maj. Cory T. Jones, a KC-130J Super Hercules pilot with Fleet Replacement Detachment, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross medal, Feb. 28, 2022, for his heroic actions during a mid-air collision, which saved the lives of his entire aircrew.

Jones and his aircrew were conducting an air-to-air refueling training mission with fixed-wing aircraft when one of the other aircraft collided with his KC-130J Super Hercules, Sept. 29, 2020. Jones was able to regain control of the aircraft and assess his available options for a safe landing despite both right-side engines and propellers damaged or missing, the fuselage damaged, the landing gear damaged, and the right external fuel tank on fire.

Jones’ ability to make critical decisions following the mid-air collision can be attributed to his extraordinary pilot skills, profound knowledge, and intensive studies of previous fatal mishaps.

“There’s never a scenario that you are given [in training] where you experience so many catastrophic events at one time,” said Jones.  “Throughout training we will simulate engine failure, or a fire, or a rapid decompression, but never all at the same time.”

Jones and his aircrew worked together to safely land the aircraft in a field in California and then evacuated to a nearby road approximately 60 yards away.

“We worked together as a team and took it step-by-step,” said Jones. “We reacted for the entire descent, and we were able to walk away from the aircraft.”

The actions and timely decisions made by Jones during the most critical moments of the 12 minutes from mid-air impact to landing are the reasons the entire aircrew were able to walk off the aircraft and are alive today.

The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to individuals in the Navy or Marine Corps who exemplify acts of heroism or extraordinary achievement while flying in the face of danger.


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