Rodney Aaron Jones – Specialist, United States Army

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 981-04
Oct 03, 2004

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Specialist Rodney A. Jones, 21, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, died September 30, 2004, in Baghdad, Iraq, when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device exploded near his dismounted patrol.  Jones was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Tuesday, October 05 2004

Rodney A. Jones wasn’t like many young men.

He wrote poetry, listened to classical music, loved to read and debate.

And he had a plan: He was going to join the Army, go to college, then become a politician.

His plan was cut short last week.

Army officials said yesterday that Jones, a 21-year-old Army specialist from Northeast Philadelphia, was killed Thursday in a suicide bombing in Baghdad.

Those officials, who could not be reached for comment last night, said in a news release that “a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device exploded near his dismounted patrol.”

Jones’ mother, Renee Jones, said her son, assigned to the First Battalion, Fifth Infantry Regiment, First Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas, was on guard duty when the bombing occurred.

It was unclear whether Jones was the U.S. soldier, who in earlier accounts, was reported killed in a bombing Thursday outside Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad. Jones was among more than 40 people who died in bombings across Iraq that day. The majority of them were children who perished while U.S. soldiers distributed candy at the opening of a sewage treatment plant in Baghdad.

Yesterday, Jones’ family members recalled a young man well beyond his years.

Renee Jones said her son graduated from Roxborough High School at a young age. By 18, he was working for the Internal Revenue Service, had moved into his own apartment, and had bought a car. But he had bigger goals in mind. After just six months on the job, he joined the Army, hoping to go to college when he got out.

Rodney Jones read – everything from the Bible to newspapers – voraciously, said his sister, Felicia Devine. “He was very analytical and very intelligent,” she said. “A lot of people thought he was really old for his age.”

Devine said that when her brother learned he was going to Iraq in January, he started trolling the Internet to pick up some of the language. Renee Jones said it paid off. When Jones returned home three weeks ago for a one-week break, she said, her son struck up a conversation in Arabic at a fast-food restaurant.

Renee Jones said she spoke to her son’s commanding officer over the weekend.

“He said, ‘your son was a giant among men,’ ” she said. “He was older and took more responsibility than every other 21-year-old he ever saw.”

As ambitious as he was, his family said, Rodney Jones, the youngest of four children, always made time for them.

While he was in Iraq, he called whenever he could. And before he left, he set up an account for his mother to dip into whenever she needed it. “Anything I needed, I knew he would take care of it. Not many mothers can say they have a son like that. But he was there for me… . I don’t know what I’m going to do now.”


Local Soldier Remembered
October 14, 2004

PHILADELPHIA,PENNSYLVANIA- Family and friends gathered Thursday to say goodbye to a 21-year-old soldier killed in a roadside explosion.

Specialist Rodney A. Jones, 21, was killed in Baghdad on September 30, 2004. He had been assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

A funeral service was held Thursday morning at Ford Memorial Temple on Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia. He will be buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Jones, who graduated from Roxborough High School at the age of 16, is survived by his mother and three siblings. Loved ones say he was preparing to propose to his longtime girlfriend Terricka Willis.

  • A Life of Ambition Is Cut Short in Iraq
  • Soldier From Pennsylvania Is Buried at Arlington
  • By Elaine Rivera
  • Courtesy of the Washington Post
  • Saturday, October 16, 2004

The family of Army Specialist Rodney A. Jones buried the young soldier at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, along with his dreams.

Jones, 21, was killed September 30, 2004, in Baghdad when a car bomb exploded near his dismounted patrol. He was the 87th soldier killed in Iraq to be buried at Arlington.

Jones, of Northeast Philadelphia, had joined the Army because he thought it would help him reach his goal of one day becoming an elected official, according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. His mother, Renee Jones, told the paper that her son had hoped to attend college after leaving the Army. She said he had dreamed of a life in politics since he was 16 and planned to work his way up the political ladder — from local office to president of the United States.

“He planned his life,” Jones told the newspaper. “He was going into politics, and he felt the only way to start was to go into the service.”

Yesterday, a light drizzle stopped and the sun broke through the clouds as six servicemen carried Jones’s coffin to the grave site, where more than two dozen mourners gathered to say good-bye.

Army Maj. Raymond Robinson spoke of the supreme sacrifice that Jones had made for his country. After the chaplain’s remarks, seven riflemen fired three volleys into the air in salute. The sound of taps filled the air.

Jones’s family was presented with the U.S. flag, along with the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal and Combat Infantryman’s Badge that Jones was awarded posthumously.

Acting Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee attended the service and at one point knelt in front of family members and spoke to them privately.

Jones, a member of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Tex., graduated early from Roxborough High School and went to work for the Internal Revenue Service, a job he quit to join the Army when he was 18, according to news accounts.

His mother said she could not understand why her son would enlist when he had a good job and his own apartment, according to Inquirer accounts. He told her, “In order to be a good politician, you have to serve your country.”

Family members told his hometown newspapers that the young soldier loved to read and listen to classical music. He was also learning Arabic while he was in Iraq and, on a recent visit home, was able to practice his new language skills with several fast-food workers at a Philadelphia restaurant, according to a story in the Philadelphia Daily News. He had studied Iraq and its culture to prepare for his deployment.

“He was going to be president one day,” Jones’s sister, Felicia Devine, told the Inquirer. “He told me when he was, like, 16. I believe, really believe, that he would have been.”


  • VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 09/30/2001 – 09/30/2004
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 12/25/1982
  • DATE OF DEATH: 09/30/2004
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 10/15/2004


Brig. Gen. Robert Caslen presents the flag to Jones’s mother, Renee Jones of Philadelphia.
at left is Acting Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee.




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