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Curran "Jack" L. Jones
USAAF, 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group, 39th Fighter Squadron Airacobra Pilot and Ace

Background
Curran "Jack" L. Jones was born in October 4, 1919 in Columbia, SC. He attended Clemson University and participated in the ROTC program. On October 14, 1940 enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as an aviation cadet and was comissioned as a Second Lieutenant pursuit pilot.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group (35th FG), 39th Fighter Squadron (39th FS) flying the P-39 Airacobra and P-400 Airacobra from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby. He often flew P-400 "The Flaming Arrow" BW102.

During early March 1942 participated in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. On June 9, 1942 took off piloting P-400 nose Nose 20 and was credited with an aerial victory for shooting down A6M2 Zero piloted by Yoshino over Cape Ward Hunt.

As an Airacobra pilot, he was was credited with five aerial victories making him an ace. Plus four other victories in early 1943, before converting to the P-38 Lighting. He earned the Silver Star, Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). Promoted to the rank of Captain, he was decorated by Lt. General George C. Kenney in the middle of 1943 before returning to the United States for his next assignment.

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Postwar
Jones remained in the U. S. Air Force (USAF) and participated in the Berlin Air Lift. He retired with the rank of Lt. Colonel. At a symposium at the Nimitz Museum he met Saburo Sakai who flew against him on missions in New Guinea.

Memorials

Jones passed away on November 17, 2013 at age 94. He is buried at Salado Cemetery in Salado, TX.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Curran L. Jones

FindAGrave - LTC Curran L. “Jack” Jones (photos, obituary, grave photo)
Temple Daily Telegram "Obituary Curran L. Jones November 18, 2013
"Lt. Col. (Ret.) Curran L. "Jack" Jones was received by our loving Savior, Christ Jesus, on Sunday, November 17, 2013. Services will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, November, 20, 2013 at Salado Church of Christ in Salado, Texas, with the Reverend Bill Bunting officiating. Burial with military honors will be in Salado Cemetery. Jack was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to the late Curran L. Jones Sr. and Marie Munckton Jones. He entered Clemson University where he participated in the ROTC and then enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp as a fighter pilot. One of the first to arrive in the Pacific at the beginning of World War II with the 39th Fighter Squadron, Jack flew P-39 Airacobras and P-38 Lightnings out of Port Moresby in New Guinea where his many victories distinguished him as an American Ace. He participated in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea and had the unusual opportunity to meet his former foe, the foremost Japanese Ace, Saburo Sakai, years later at the Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas. Following the war, he was transferred to Europe and had a command in the Berlin Air Lift. He returned after the war to complete his degree in history. He retired in Salado, Texas, to launch the Grace Jone's dress shop and raise thoroughbred horses. Jack initiated the Salado Chamber of Commerce, the Salado Art Fair, the first Republican precinct in Salado, the Holland Chamber of Commerce, and the first Republican precinct in Holland. He was a founding member of the Bell County Sherriff's Posse, active member of the Salado Lions Club, and past president of the Heart of Texas Son's of the American Revolution. He enjoyed tennis, golf, and English riding. For over 20 years Jack authored Aviation by C.L. "Jack" Jones, a column in the Killeen Daily Herald and other local papers focusing on men and women pilots in Texas. He also produced a monthly PBS television program, Skies Over Texas, in which he interviewed pilots throughout the state. Survivors include his wife of 32 years, Joyce Bateman Jones; daughter, Marie Catherine Jones; stepson, Aaron Austin Mullen and wife Jennifer; and grandsons Isaiah and Wyatt."

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