Service Number: O-009804
Birth and Early Life:
John Jones was born to Gerald and Mabel (Monteath) Jones of Tucson, Arizona, on November 1, 1920. “Jerry” attended Tucson High School, then spent three years at the University of Arizona’s studying engineering and socializing with his brothers in Sigma Chi.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Jones enlisted in the Navy in August, 1941. He elected flight school and was trained at Long Beach, California and Corpus Christi, Texas, before receiving his commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.
In 1942, Lieutenant Jones was posted to the Second Marine Aircraft Wing, based in San Diego. He joined VMF-223 in July, and the following month was reassigned to VMF-224 (the Bengals). By late August, John Jones was on Guadalcanal with the Cactus Air Force, flying out of famous Henderson Field.
September 2, 1942 was a red-letter day for Lieutenant Jones. A late-morning air raid consisting of eighteen enemy bombers and 22 fighters was reported, and the Americans followed the by-now standard procedure of sending up an interception force while flying out all other aircraft to deny targets to the enemy. Jones picked out a Ki-21 “Sally” bomber, and pressed his trigger. The bomber dropped in flames, giving Jones his first confirmed kill.
In the week that followed, Jones flew regular patrols and escort missions with the pilots of his squadron and those of VMF-223 and VMSB-232.
Date Of Loss:
The air raid warning sounded again at 1115 on September 9, 1942. Lieutenant Jones jumped into Wildcat F4F-4 02107, fired up the engine and was soon aloft, part of a fifteen-plane intercept force sent to chase away an estimated 46 Japanese raiders attacking ships in Sealark Channel.
Eight Japanese planes were soon in flames, and the rest turned and fled without causing serious damage to the ships below. However, three Wildcats failed to return from the fight. One lieutenant was delivered by a destroyer that evening, and Captain Marion Carl returned after a few days, but John Jones – last seen tangling with Japanese fighters – was never seen again. He was 21 years old at the time of his death.
Jones was posthumously promoted to captain, effective June 1, 1943.
Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Mabel Jones
Status Of Remains:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.