‘Marine of the Year’ goes to Cherry Point pilot

Cherry Point USMC Maj. Cory T. Jones was honored Tuesday night in Washington, DC as ‘2022 Marine of the Year’ by the Military Times publication. The award recognizes the heroic landing of a KC-130J tanker following a mid-air collision with a F-35B. In September 2020, Jones was piloting a Super Hercules tanker during an air-to-air refueling mission when an F-35B struck his aircraft.

Despite the plane having extensive structural damage, two destroyed engines, and catching fire, Jones and his crew were able to successfully land the aircraft with NO LANDING GEAR in a California field 12 minutes after the collision. Major Jones earned the Distinguished Flying Cross –  the fourth highest military award for bravery –  for helping save all eight crew members that day.