Army Lt. Col. James Jones recently received the 2017 Director's Lifesaving Citation from Secret Service Acting Director William Callahan for saving an agent and two U.S. students in Peru.
At the same ceremony, Secret Service agents received similar awards for saving Jones' life after he was later bitten by a pit viper. the U.S. Defence Department said in a release.
Jones, who is assigned to the White House medical evaluation and treatment unit, was with the Secret Service in Peru's Andes Mountains last fall when an agent collapsed. Jones diagnosed fluid buildup in an agent's lungs due to the high altitude. Jones transported the agent to base camp on a mule while administering medication and oxygen. He then coordinated the agent's transport to Cusco, Peru, and accompanied his patient on the four-hour drive, the release said.
A little over a week later, Jones responded to two U.S. students who had also collapsed on the trail to a mountain summit. They were also suffering from fluid in the lungs and malnutrition. After reaching base camp, Jones found that one student had deteriorated due to a buildup of fluid on the brain. Both students were transported to the hospital in Cusco, the release said.
Four days after rescuing the students, Jones was bitten by a pit viper. The venom caused severe reactions, seizures and loss of consciousness. The Secret Service agents transported him to base camp and provided emergency treatment until he could be transported to Cusco, the release said.