Sunday, February 21, 2010

Col. Jeff Jones, Gulf War veteran Special Operations battalion commander, dies of brain cancer; Will be buried at Arlington

Jeffrey B. Jones

BORN: June 20, 1949  DIED: January 24, 2010

Colonel Jeffrey B. Jones, US Army Retired, passed away on Sunday, January 24, 2010 at his home in Alexandria, Virginia, after a heroic battle with brain cancer.

A 1971 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Jeff served his country in important assignments throughout his 30 year Army career and in civilian roles thereafter. His contributions most impacted national defense in the areas of psychological operations and strategic communications, and he served as Commander of the 8th PSYOP Battalion during Desert Shield and Desert Storm followed by roles in the National Security Council and the Council on Combating Terrorism. In addition, Jeff led 50 officers from 16 nations in Lebanon in the UN Truce Supervision Organization, and he was the Joint Staff Representative on the U.S. Nuclear and Space Negotiations Team in Geneva that conducted arms control negotiations with the former Soviet Union.

His final military assignment was as the U.S. Defense Attaché in Paris, France, where he was credited with helping to improve U.S.-Franco relations.

Even after leaving the government in 2005, Jeff continued to be involved in developing concepts and approaches for strategic communications as a Senior Associate at the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

He is survived by his wife of 31 years, the former Pamela Kettle of Alexandria, along with his mother, Sarah Smith Jones, and his brother, James F. Jones, Jr., both of Hartford, CT.

Friends may gather at the Athenaeum in Old Town Alexandria, 201 Prince Street on Saturday, February 13th, 2010 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Interment with full military honors will take place at Arlington National Cemetery, Wednesday, May 12, beginning with services at 1:00 p.m. at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Meyer.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Jeff’s name to The Johns Hopkins University Brain Cancer Program, Dr. Blakeley Neuro-Oncology Research and Education Fund, c/o Office of Development, Department of Neurology, 100 N. Charles Street, Suite 401, Baltimore, MD 21201.

Funeral Service:
Wednesday May 12, 2010 1:00 PM
Arlington National Cemetery
Old Post Chapel Arlington, VA


Editor’s note:  Veterans of the 1991 Gulf War exposed to low-level chemical warfare agents at Khamisiyah, Iraq in March 1991 have been shown to have high rates of brain cancer, including compared to other Gulf War troops not exposed..  The plume of chemical warfare agents lasted three days and affected at least 100,000 ground troops, including many Special Operations troops. 

Agents included in the Khamisiyah demolitions included sarin and cyclosarin nerve agents, and may have included mustard gas, a vessicant with radiomimetic (similar to radioactive) properties.

It is a tragedy that the commander of my sister battalion and later my Group commander – an unusually gifted and talented man with many important accomplishments -- is now among those who have suffered this tragic fate.

Today, VA is still doing little to monitor rates of cancers and other serious diagnosed conditions.  And, some key, but entrenched VA bureaucrats still dispute the existence of serious health outcomes among Gulf War veterans, or don’t seem to know what to do about it.

President Obama and VA Secretary Shinseki:  Is change coming for Gulf War veterans?

-Anthony Hardie

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