“The Only Reward Is Another Mission No One Will Take”: Pathfinder Operations In The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment

Shawn Jones


CSM(R) Shawn Jones grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and after four years in the high school band, he became the Drum Major. After graduation, he joined the Army as utilities equipment repairman (52C), specializing in air conditioning. His first assignment in the Army was Germany, and returning from Europe, he was reassigned to Ft. Bragg and the 82nd Airborne Division. He then began working with non-standard communications equipment, ending up in the 129th Aviation Company, a forerunner of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. He then completed Airborne, Master Fitness, Air Assault, SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape), and Pathfinder schools. In the 160th he started out in the 3/5 Platoon (Class III and V) setting up FARPs (Forward Arming and Refueling Point), rising through the ranks and leading in different positions. He was the S3 NCOIC as a Master Sergeant, and a liaison to the Navy, serving on different Wasp-class Amphibious Assault Ships, including the USS Kearsarge on September 11, 2001. During his time in the Army, he served in Germany, Panama, Israel, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He retired from the Army in 2017, and is currently the President of the National Pathfinder Association. In this interview, he talks about his childhood and his Army service. He describes some of the operations he participated in, highlighting his time working with the Navy, and as a member of the MFO mission (Multinational Forces and Observer) in the Sinai, where he was able to jump with both Israeli and Jordanian forces as part of “Wings of Peace.” At the end of the interview, he discusses the importance of the Pathfinder Association, its bi-annual reunions, and recording oral histories to capture the legacy and traditions of Pathfinders throughout the years.


conflicts Iraq War Afghanistan War
topics Pathfinder Leadership Camaraderie
interviewer Rick Lovering
date 23 July 2019


name Shawn Jones
service 93P Aviation Operations Specialist
unit 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
specialty Pathfinder
service dates 1986 2017