When Pfc. Jayden Jones arrived in Afghanistan earlier this month, there was a familiar face waiting to greet him — his mother.
Less than 13 months into his Army career, Jones, 19, deployed to Afghanistan with the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, as his mother, Sgt. 1st Class Ebony Jones was wrapping up her nine months in the country with the division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team. The two happened through Bagram Airfield at the same time and were able to reunite — something that impacted both of them, no matter how brief an interaction.
“I saw a smile and I knew it was my mom,” Jayden Jones said during a phone call from Bagram over the weekend.
Ebony Jones said her son is already showing more maturity.
“I’m very proud of him,” Ebony Jones said. “He told me he was going to be in the Army since he was 4 years old. I was deployed when he signed up.”
The 22-year medic is on her third deployment and has been stationed at Fort Hood for most of her career. Jayden Jones, who also signed up as a medic, said he didn’t see the deployments as time away from home, but as part of the Army journey.
“The fact that she got to meet a lot of people and work a lot of places, that got my attention; that made me want to join the military,” he said. “I was joining to serve my country, and never worried about (deployments). I was worried about my mother when I was younger.”
Over the years, Ebony Jones has taken on the nickname “Mama Jones,” from her soldiers.
“The first time I disciplined one of my soldiers he said I reminded him of his mom. I said, ‘Good, because you wouldn’t want to disappoint your mom, so don’t disappoint me.’”
Ebony Jones will be headed back to Fort Hood in the coming weeks, where she will be reunited with her husband, and keeping up with her son through Facebook, just as they did when she was the one downrange.
She parted ways with Jayden, reminding him to trust the people around him and to keep his head down and his butt up.
“And for God to watch over them and keep it as quiet as it has been for us, and that the same people they leave with are the same ones they come home with,” she said.
Contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.