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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
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Herbert C. Jones

 

Herbert Charpiot Jones was born 21 January 1918 at Los Angeles and enlisted in the Naval Reserve 14 May 1935. He was commissioned Ensign 14 November 1940 and reported to California, at Pearl Harbor 2 weeks later. On 7 December 1941, the 23-year-old Ensign was about to relieve the oflicer-of-the-deck on battleship California when Japanese planes swooped in to attack. In the first wave,a torpedo and a bomb hit the ship. Ens. Jones dived into a smoke-filled hatchway and crawled along oil-slick decks to rescue a stricken sailor before being temporarily overcome by fumes. Reviving, Ensign Jones saw an antiaircraft battery without a leader and, staggering to his feet, took command. As a second wave of Japanese planes came in, the young officer fired his guns until all their ammunition was expended. Since the torpedo had put California's ammunition hoist out of action, Ens. Jones quickly organized a party of volunteers to go below and pass the ammunition up by hand. The vitally needed shells had just begun to reach the battery when a bomb hit the ship and mortally wounded him. As the men tried to carry him to safety, the gallant Ensign told them "Don't bother about me. I'm done for. Save yourself before the magazines go off!"

 

In posthumously awarding Ens. Herbert C. Jones the Medal of Honor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt cited him for "conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life above and beyond the call of duty."

 

(DE-137 : dp. 1,200; l. 306'; b. 36'7" ; dr. 8'7" ; s. 21 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 2 40mm., 8 20 mm., 3 tt.; 2 dct, 8 dcp., l dcp. (h.h.) ;cl.Edsall)

 

Herbert C. Jones (DE-137) was launched 19 January 1943 by the Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.; sponsored by Mrs. Joanne Ruth Jones, widow; and commissioned 21 July 1943, Lt. Comdr. Alfred W. Gardes, Jr., in command.

 

After a Caribbean shakedown, Herbert C. Jones reported to the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., to participate in experiments on the method of control used by the Nazis in their glider bombs. The new destroyer escort departed Norfolk 7 October for the Mediterranean, arriving Algiers via Gibraltar 16 October to begin a year of escort duty along the North African coast. In a German attack 6 November, Herbert 0. Jones destroyed one enemy plane. As she escorted a convoy bound from Algiers to Bizerte, Herbert C. Jones distinguished herself in an intensive 2-hour German attack the afternoon of 26 November. In addition to splashing one fighter, the ship studied the performance characteristics of enemy radio-directed glider bombs. As a result of these under-flre investigations, Herbert C. Jones and her sister ship Frederick C. Davis were fitted with powerful radio-jamming sets in early December to counteract and misdirect the glider bombs. This new electronic warfare capability was to find almost immediate use as Herbert C. Jones patrolled off the Italian coast 22 January 1944 while Allied troops stormed ashore to establish the Anzio beachhead. With her special gear, Herbert C. Jones jammed and decoyed into the sea the great majority of the many glider bombs directed at the naval task force. She also intercepted radio messages which enabled her to give warning of impending German air attacks. Herbert C. Jones received the Navy Unit Commendation for her work off Anzio.

 

The destroyer-escort saw her next major action as she arrived off the French coast 16 August, D-day plus one, to support Operation "Anvil," the invasion of southern France. After 2 months of antisubmarine patrol, Herbert C. Jones reached New York 17 October for overhaul and coastal convoy duty.

 

In December 1944 she joined a hunter-killer task force for antisubmarine patrol in the Atlantic out of Norfolk. Remaining on this duty until V-E Day, Herbert C. Jones sailed for the Pacific 24 June 1945 after training exercises in Cuba. She was at Pearl Harbor when news of the Japanese capitulation was received 15 August, and from there sailed to the Marshall Islands for precautionary air-sea patrol duty. Herbert C. Jones sailed to Green Cove Springs, Fla., via San Diego, the Panama Canal, and New York City 15 March 1946. She decommissioned and was placed in reserve 2 May 1947. In 1967 she was berthed at Philadelphia.

 

For her participation in World War II, Herbert C. Jones was awarded three battle stars.