OSI 'darkest day' survivor receives Bronze Star

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • AFOSI Public Affairs

Dec. 21, 2015, will forever be remembered as the ‘darkest day’ in the annals of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.


That day four AFOSI Special Agents and two Security Forces Defenders of Task Force Crimson / Expeditionary Detachment 2405, were fatally wounded when their joint patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle near Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.


The death toll could have been worse if not for the quick, heroic actions of OSI Special Agent Jonathan Jackson. During the attack Jackson immediately identified the threat and thanks to his training positioned himself between the bomber and his linguist to protect the linguist from harm.


Besides mortally wounding the six fallen Airmen, the bomb blast critically wounded five others, including Jackson, who sustained a severe concussion and shrapnel wounds to his upper torso and legs.


Despite his life threatening injuries, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Jackson quickly regained his situational awareness to extract the linguist from the kill-zone to a position of cover and administered life-saving medical care to the linguist and himself.


Those actions, and more, earned Jackson the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, presented to him during a ceremony Dec. 1, 2016, at Mountain Home, Air Force Base, Idaho, the home of Jackson’s stateside unit, AFOSI Det. 221.


“Jon would not call himself a hero, but in the words expressed many times since that tragic day by Brig. Gen. (Keith) Givens, our AFOSI Commander, Jon, his fellow survivors and our noble Fallen, were heroes long before that day,” said Col. Terry Bullard, AFOSI Region 2 Commander who officiated the Bronze Star ceremony. “They were heroes because they chose a life of service to others, a life protecting others and were prepared every day to lay down their life in that cause for all they defended and all of us.”


According to the Bronze Star Medal citation Jackson also fought through excruciating pain to establish a defensive fighting position to prepare for a complex follow-on attack. He provided security at the scene ensuring his teammates were able to give immediate casualty care to the more critically wounded.


Jackson’s actions guaranteed the extraction of 12 people within 41 minutes of the attack, which allowed critical Role III medical treatment for five teammates and him within the “golden hour.”


The citation stated Jackson was absolutely decisive in securing highly sensitive weapons, equipment and intelligence, which ensured the uncontaminated post-blast assessment by Explosive Ordinance Disposal Personnel.

While the Bronze Star Medal is significant in its own right; it’s the eighth highest award one can receive, but only one of four medals awarded for heroism, the “V” device recognizes combat heroism.


Jackson’s BSM joins the Purple Heart and Air Force Combat Action Medal on his uniform also earned during the attack and presented by General Givens at Dover AFB, Del.


Col. Bullard continued a practice started by General Givens at Jackson’s earlier ceremony by having Jackson’s father, Mr. Michael Jackson, pin the medal on his son.


Col. Bullard concluded his remarks by addressing the recipient.


“Jonathan, we in this room, those throughout the command and in our Air Force are incredibly honored to serve with an Airman like you. Thank you for allowing us to pay tribute to you today and thank you for allowing me the honor of standing on the stage with you.”