Herbert C. Jones never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on January 21, 1918 in California. His mother Ethelyn was born in Illinois and his father Herbert was born in Iowa. His father was a World War I Navy veteran who worked at the US Naval Academy in 1920. He was later assigned to serve in Washington DC and retired as a captain in 1937 and moved to California. Herbert had one younger sister.
Herbert enlisted in the US Naval Reserves in May 1935. He was commissioned an ensign in November 1940. He was assigned to the battleship USS California. Prior to steaming to Hawaii, Ensign Jones married his high school sweetheart Joanne.
Ensign Jones was aboard California on December 7, 1941 when it was struck by two Japanese torpedoes. The torpedoes damaged the mechanical hoists that replenished the anti-aircraft ammunition. He organized a group of sailors to manually pass up the ammunition from below deck. While so engaged on the third deck, a Japanese bomb exploded on the second deck, mortally wounding Ensign Jones. When two men tried to pull him to safety, he said, "Leave me alone! I am done for. Get out of here before the magazines go off."
The California sank in the shallow harbor. 100 men were killed in the attack.
Fifteen men were awarded the Medal of Honor (ten posthumously) for their actions during the Pearl Harbor attack including Ensign Jones and two others from the California.
Thirteen months later his widow was at the launching of the destroyer escort USS Herbert C. Jones which served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean during the rest of the war.
His grave is at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. I don't have any information about his widow.
Last year on this date I profiled B-24 navigator William Sippel. You can read his story here.
On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!
I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100