Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa sending decorated Marine to Super Bowl
al.com February 2, 2024
(Tribune News Service) — Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be in Las Vegas next week for Super Bowl LVIII not as a player – the Dolphins were eliminated in the first round of this year’s playoffs — but as a host.
The former Alabama All-American has teamed with USAA and the Marine Corps Association to send Marine veteran John Jones, a former staff sergeant from Windsor, Colorado, to this year’s NFL championship game, where he’ll cheer on his favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers, as they take on the Kansas City Chiefs.
Tagovailoa called Jones “a true inspiration who faced adversity head on.”
“Whenever I face setbacks, challenges or adversity in my football career, I always find inspiration from the men and women in the military who bravely serve our country,” Tagovailoa said via a press release. “No one is more inspiring in the face of adversity than Staff Sergeant John ‘Jonesy’ Jones. I’m humbled by the opportunity to join with USAA and the Marine Corps Association to award him with a trip to the Super Bowl, and I can’t wait to learn from him and show my thanks when we meet in Las Vegas.”
Jones served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1995 through 2007 before a medical retirement. Jones had overseas deployments to Japan, Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Spain, Germany and Thailand.
In 2005, Jones was severely injured when his vehicle ran over an anti‐tank mine, and he lost both legs below the knees. He walks today with prosthesis.
Jones has been awarded the Purple Heart, Navy Commendation Medal with Valor, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Gold Star, Combat Action Ribbon and three Good Conduct Medals. His non‐personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, two National Defense Medals, Overseas Service Ribbon, four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, Joint Meritorious Unit Citation Ribbon, and Meritorious Unit Citation Ribbon.
After the Marines, Jones became the first graduate of the Wall Street Warfighters, a group that trained and placed injured service members into Wall Street jobs. Jones is now the vice president of development for Project Healing Waters, an organization that uses fly fishing to address post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jones is taking his brother with him as his guest as the NFL closes its 2023 season on Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
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