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Hometown Hero - Jonathan Springer, Pt. 2

Jonathan Springer was a sergeant in the US Army at the time he was headed to his second deployment in the middle east after helping clean up the mess at Abu Ghraib.

Posted: Jan. 14, 2019 8:55 AM
Updated: Jan. 14, 2019 9:25 AM

For part 1 of Jonathan's story, Click Here

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Jonathan Springer was a sergeant in the US Army at the time he was headed to his second deployment in the middle east after helping clean up the mess at Abu Ghraib.

He would spend two more tours overseas, one in Iraq, and the other in Afghanistan. During his 3rd deployment, he was located in the dangerous Pech River Valley.

Springer recounted his time there, saying “It was a very kinetic area. We lost a lot of guys, I lost some guys. It was just, you’re out there everyday fighting, really fighting. You know, we lost a lot of guys.”

One of the most intense battles he was a part of was a 15 hour firefight between his company and a group of terrorists.

The reason it was so memorable? Springer says, “you remember it because of the guys you fought alongside.” 

Those experiences and those he lost still weigh on his today. It’s something he’s seeking professional help to cope with

“If you experience real combat, ground combat for any given time. Doesn’t matter if it’s just one mission or multiple missions over multiple years. You’re going to come back and it’s going to affect you some way,” Springer said.

While deployed to Afghanistan, Jonathan recalls having to have a physical map to call out coordinates to fire the artillery.

“I had to fat finger on a map the grid to call in…”

These experiences helped springer develop the Tactical Nav app while he was deployed.

The app helps military personnel to determine the distance of a target using a map with grid overlay and input from soldiers on the ground.

Springer said, “I knew it worked when I had a beta version and we took two rounds of mortars one guy got wounded and I didn’t have my compass on me at the time because I was a fire support officers, but I had my app. So, I zeroed in on the location of the mortar tube where I saw the smoke and called in a battery 4 and we killed two men.”

The app isn’t just for the military, Tactical Nav was even used in Paradise, California to help fight fires and rescue families.

Springer says part of his success goes all the way back to when he was in a different uniform.

"Coach Donnelly [Saint Francis Men's Football Coach} really kind of took us under his wing, groomed us into outstanding, football players and that translates very well to the army as a young guy on a team."

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