Rob Jones grew up on a farm in the small town of Lovettsville, Virginia and graduated from Loudoun Valley High School in 2003, and from Virginia Tech in 2007. In his junior year at Virginia Tech, Rob joined the Marine Corps Reserve as a combat engineer at Bravo Company, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion in Roanoke, VA. In the Marine Corps, combat engineers are responsible for a multitude of disciplines but the primary role that Rob undertook was the use of explosives, and the detection of buried IEDs and weapons caches.
Rob was deployed to Habbaniyah, Iraq in 2008, and again to Delaram/Sangin, Afghanistan in 2010. During his deployment to Afghanistan while operating as a part of a push into Taliban territory, Rob was tasked with clearing an area with a high likelihood of containing an IED. It was in this capacity that he was wounded by the IED that he was looking for. The injury resulted in a left through knee dis-articulation and a right above knee amputation of his legs.
Rob was taken to National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD for the initial phases of my recovery, which consisted primarily of healing and closing my wounds. He was then transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for the remainder of my rehabilitation. At Walter Reed Rob was fitted with prosthetics, and worked very hard to learn how to walk with two prosthetic knees. He also used the time to relearn how to do other things with my new challenge including riding an upright cycle, running, and rowing. Rob enjoyed rowing so much that he decided to train for the 2012 Paralympics.
Rob was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in December, 2011, and immediately moved to Florida to train with his rowing partner, Oksana. They spent five months there, and during that time period won the trunk and arms double scull trials race held by USRowing to become the USRowing national team for our boat class, and also won the Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta in Belgrade to qualify for the Paralympics. Rob and Oksana then moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to continue training until the Paralympics in late August, 2012. Their hard work paid off for us as they brought home a bronze medal in their event. Rob continued in the sport of rowing through the 2013 season, where he and his partner placed 4th in the 2013 World Rowing Championships.
On October 14, 2013 Rob began a cross country bike ride across America which started in Bar Harbor, Maine, and ended in Camp Pendleton, California. The ride was 5,180 miles long and completed on April 13, 2014, a total of 181 days after it began. Over the course of the ride, along with his team, Rob raised $126,000 for the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, and Ride 2 Recovery, three charities which aid wounded veterans.
Currently Rob is training in the sport of triathlon with intention to compete in the 2016 Paralympics.