Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Johnny ‘Joey’ Jones, U.S. Marine Corps EOD
Combat-wounded Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Johnny ‘Joey’ Jones turned a traumatic, life-changing disability into a personal mission to improve the lives of all veterans.
Jones’ easy rapport with civilians, military leaders and celebrities alike has led to a long list of speaking opportunities. His message focuses on overcoming adversity, finding a positive perspective in dire situations, leaning on those around you, and finding strength in yourself and your community. Rather it be on live television, in writing, or speaking to a live audience, Joey’s genuine demeanor, thoughtful approach and innate humor allow him to masterfully connect with people of all walks of life on a gambit of issues. He simply believes we all need the opportunity to tell ourselves it’s time to, “Get up, Get Over it, and Get Going.”
Known to his friends as ‘Triple J,’ Jones was raised in Dalton, Georgia and enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school. During his eight years of service, he worked as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (bomb) Technician, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan on separate tours. During his last deployment to Afghanistan, Jones was responsible for disarming and destroying more than 80 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and thousands of pounds of other unknown bulk explosives. It was during that tour on August 6, 2010 when he stepped on and initiated an IED, resulting in the loss of both of his legs above the knee and severe damage to his right forearm and both wrists. He recovered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington D.C.
Determined to make the road to recovery easier for his fellow wounded veterans, Jones founded a peer visit program at Walter Reed, providing opportunities for others recovering to mentor and encourage newly-injured patients. His dedication and relentlessness led to an unprecedented year-long fellowship on Capitol Hill with the House of Representatives Veterans’ Affairs Committee, his work resulted in the creation of an annual fellowship for a wounded Marine.
During his recovery, Jones took classes on campus as Walter Reed. After gaining physical independence in July 2011, just ten months after his injury, Jones sought the best possible education and enrolled in Georgetown University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in May 2014. During his time at Georgetown, he was a leader within his student body and co-founded the first veteran student organization at his school. His time at Georgetown fostered relationships and efforts that are still changing the lives of veteran students on campus today.
After losing his childhood best friend to PTSD-related suicide in 2012, Jones decided to make veterans’ issues a key part his professional work. Throughout his post-service career, he has carefully fostered relationships with key players in politics and the media in an effort to keep those issues at the forefront of discussion. He’s shared his experiences and insights on the challenges facing active duty and retired service members at the White House as a dinner guest of President Obama in 2012, and later with former President George W. Bush in 2014. He has also visited with Vice President Biden, as well as multiple cabinet officials and military generals and still enjoys a close personal and working relationship with current Marine Corps leaders. He remains active in politics as an advocate on veteran and military issues campaigning with congressional members who have served.
Jones regularly appears as an outspoken, yet insightful military analyst for Fox News. His other television appearances include CNN, ABC’s “Nightline,” “CBS Evening News,” “The Real”, Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family,” and is the subject in the series premiere episode of DirectTV’s 2016 docs-series “Religion of Sports” detailing Jones’s upbringing and current involvement in NASCAR. He also hosts his own inspirational podcast, “Blown Away with JJJ.”
On the big screen, he has a speaking role in the Academy Award-winning film “Lincoln,” he appeared in the independent film, “Range 15” and was a technical advisor for the independent film “Bad Hurt.”
In 2015 Joey joined Marcus Luttrell, Taya Kyle and others as a member of “Patriot Tour,” a national touring speaker series.
Prior to joining Zac Brown’s Southern Ground, Jones was the Chief Operating Officer of Boot Campaign, a national military nonprofit. He continues to work with Veteran organizations such as Marcus Luttrell’s Team Never Quit, Taya Kyle’s Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, 22 Kill, Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation, Boot Campaign, EOD Warrior Foundation, Merging Vets and Players, Waterboys.org, and Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
Jones resides in Fayetteville, Georgia, just outside Atlanta, with his wife Meg, his son and their two dogs Chief and Tucker. In his spares time, he enjoys hitting the open rode on his custom motorcycle and celebrating the freedoms of the country he fought to protect.