Rangers coach Jones presented with Vietnam medal
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Texas Rangers bench coach Bobby Jones heard fans cheering Thursday night, rather than the repeated boom of a 105-millimeter howitzer.
As part of the team's remembrance of the Sept. 11 attacks, Jones was formally presented with a military medal he earned in Vietnam.
The former Army corporal officially received the Bronze Star before Texas played the Los Angeles Angels. A colonel from the Army Corps of Engineers pinned the medal on the left side of Jones' No. 5 jersey, and they saluted each other.
Jones also received a framed citation and a frame holding the other medals he earned.
"It's pretty special. I didn't expect any of this," Jones said.
Jones served in Vietnam for 14 months as the artillery section chief in a howitzer battery. He now wears hearing aids after the noise from the weapons caused hearing loss.
"I had six or seven men under me. We were at Fire Support Base Siberia, out in the middle of nowhere," Jones said.
Jones said he couldn't remember whether he was handed the medal in Vietnam or in February 1971, when he returned to the United States.
"I actually got the medal before, but didn't get the citation," he said.
The former major leaguer was drafted into the Army at age 19 in July 1969, when he was playing Class A ball in the Washington Senators' organization.
Jones said he extended the usual one-year tour in exchange for an early separation from the Army. Thus, he was able to report for 1971 spring training with the Senators, who became the Rangers the next season.
Jones played the first of his nine major league seasons in 1974. He also managed for 24 years in the Texas organization.
When Tim Bogar moved up from bench coach to interim manager Sept. 5, Jones was promoted from assistant hitting coach to bench coach.
"People need to see what Bobby's done for this country. It makes you realize how fortunate we are here to have people willing to go over there," Bogar said.
Jones said public reaction to returning soldiers is much more favorable than when he came home from Vietnam.
"When you get soldiers on an airplane, everybody claps. It's so cool," he said.