Fort Hood officials confirmed Wednesday that Sgt. 1st Class Robert Jones Jr., who worked at Fort Hood’s Noncommissioned Officer Academy, drowned Monday in an accident at Stillhouse Hollow Lake.
Jones, a combat veteran, was a Bronze Star recipient and had been in the Army for 12 years. He deployed twice to Iraq and two other times to Afghanistan.
Jones, 31, also was president of the Fort Hood Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, a nonprofit that supports soldiers and recognizes good deeds.
“We have to get out there and show people that we are about community service,” Jones told the Fort Hood Sentinel in October. “We want to give back and want to recognize students doing outstanding things.”
Jones went missing in the lake Monday afternoon. Bell County Sheriff’s Department officials said Jones was at Union Grove Park trying to get his boat up on a trailer when it drifted away into the lake. He jumped into the water to retrieve it, then slipped beneath the surface. He came up once to yell for help and then went under again. His body was recovered Tuesday.
Jones, from Anderson, S.C., entered active-duty service in February 2003 as a Patriot launching station enhanced operator/maintainer. He had been assigned to the NCO academy since June.
In addition to the Bronze Star, Jones’ awards and decorations include Meritorious Service medals, five Army Commendation medals, two Army Achievement medals, four Army Good Conduct medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Iraq Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, three Overseas Service ribbons, NATO Medal, Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Driver and Mechanic Badge, and Marksmanship Qualification Badge Expert with Rifle.