Siouxland Navy veteran reflects on time of service

Veterans Voices

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Navy veteran Jim Jones had a remarkable career in the Navy, commanding ships, meeting presidents, and going around three times, but he said his time serving others is far from over.

“I guess I always saw my uncle’s Navy picture hanging on my grandparents’ wall, maybe that was an influence, I don’t know,” said Jones.

Jones was born and raised in Sioux City, following in the footsteps of his father and uncle, Jones joined the military soon after high school, spending 30 years in the Navy on active duty.

“I’ve been to 21 countries, five deployments, been on five different ships, two tours of recruiting duty, and a tour on an F-14 squadron,” said Jones.

While in the Navy, Jones escorted tankers in the Persian Gulf and helped take down drug vessels in the Caribbean.

“We actually caught a submarine with 50 kilos of cocaine, and five million dollars in cash, five bad guys. In a big 42,000 ton warship,” said Jones.

Jones retired a command Master chief petty officer in 2016, the most senior enlisted sailor in his unit.

“My role was to oversee and make sure that all the enlisted issues were voiced to the Captain, and that the Captain was making decisions with enough information,” Jones said.

However, his service didn’t stop there after initially struggling to find his place after retirement.

“The civilian world doesn’t work like we work in the military. There is no time off,” said Jones.

Jones now works as the Director of Veteran Affairs for Plymouth County, helping veterans receive benefits through the VA.

“Veterans speak their own language sometimes. And I’ll have veterans sitting there with their spouse and they’ll start saying things and the spouse is like, ‘This is the first I’ve ever heard of that,'” said Jones.

Embracing the unofficial motto of the Navy: Not for self, but for the county.

“The thing that I enjoy the most is getting that Vietnam veteran who somebody pushed and pushed and pushed to come into my office to look for benefits, and they see my shadowbox sitting on my desk with my thirty years of ribbons and medals, and they tend to open up more than they ever did to their families. It’s very rewarding. I think I found my place,” Jones said.

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