Died November 25,2008
Major General David M. Jones is commander of the Air Force Eastern Test Range, Cape Kennedy, Fla. He also serves as Department of Defense Manager for Manned Space Flight Support Operations.
General Jones was born in 1913, at Marshfield, Ore., and attended the University of Arizona at Tucson, Ariz., from 1932 to 1936, where he enlisted in the Arizona National Guard. He served one year of active duty in the Cavalry prior to entering pilot training in June 1937. He was graduated from three major Armed Forces schools: Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., 1946; Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va., 1948; and the National War College, Washington, D.C., 1956.
He next served as a pilot with the 17th Attack Group and then the 95th Bombardment Squadron. In early 1942 he volunteered for the Doolittle Project. During the training phase of this project, he flew the initial evaluation flights on the B-25 aircraft which were specially equipped for the mission. After the Doolittle raid on Tokyo, he bailed out over China. The Chinese people assisted him in returning to the United States. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his participation as a flight commander in the planning, training and completion of the mission.
In September 1942 General Jones was assigned as commander of the 319th Bombardment Group in North Africa. His belief in low-level bombing and his experience with the Doolittle Project resulted in an assignment to develop low-level bombing tactics and techniques. On Dec. 4, 1942, he was shot down over Bizerte, North Africa, and spent two and a half years as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III. As a result of his constant agitation and harassment of the enemy he was selected for the "escape committee" by fellow prisoners. The committee reviewed escape plans and directed escapes. After his liberation in April 1945, General Jones was commended for leadership among his fellow prisoners.
General Jones served successively from July 1946 to February 1952 as air inspector at Headquarters Air Training Command; attended the Armed Forces Staff College; director of war plans, Tactical Air Command Headquarters; director of combat operations, Ninth Air Force; and commander, 47th Bombardment Group. From February 1952 to July 1955 he was commander of the 47th Bombardment Wing (a jet-bomber wing) at Langley Air Force Base, Va., and Sculthorpe, England.
He started his research and development work in 1956 while assigned as deputy chief of staff for operations for the Air Proving Ground Command at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. His experience in bombardment-type aircraft and previous command staff assignments in research and development resulted in his being selected director of the B-58 Test Force, organized in February 1958 at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. Throughout this assignment, General Jones maintained his flying status in the B-58, TF-102, and T-33 aircraft. He participated in design speed dashes, low-level penetrations, night, weather, formation and inflight refueling missions.
When he was transferred to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in September 1960, as vice commander of the Wright Air Development Division, General Jones had flown more supersonic time testing the B-58 than any senior U.S. Air Force pilot. In October 1961 he was named program manager of the GAM-87 "Skybolt" at Aeronautical Systems Division. When that project was cancelled, he became ASD deputy for systems management and later vice commander.
In August 1964 he was assigned as deputy chief of staff for systems at Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and in December 1964 became deputy associate for manned space flight with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In May 1967 he assumed duties as commander of the Air Force Eastern Test Range, Cape Kennedy, Fla.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart, Yum Hwei from the Chinese Government, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal with device, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
General Jones' hometown is Winters, Texas.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of major general effective July 1, 1965, with date of rank Oct. 5, 1960.
(Current as of Feb. 15, 1972)