Jones, William Atkinson, III, Col

 Service Photo   Service Details
40 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1969-1969, 00066, 1st Flying Training Squadron (Cadre)
Service Years
1945 - 1969
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

61 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Jones, William Atkinson, III, Col.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Charlottesville, Virginia
Last Address
Andrews AFB, Maryland

Date of Passing
Nov 15, 1969
Location of Interment
Saint John's Episcopal Church Cemetery - Warsaw, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Headquarters Air Force Air Force Commander

 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal

 Military Association Memberships
In the Line of Duty
  1969, In the Line of Duty

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Just over a year after the mission for which he would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, he was killed in the crash of his private plane in Virginia.

His Medal of Honor citation:
Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Colonel William Atkinson Jones, III, United States Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 602d Special Operations Squadron, 56th Special Operations Wing, on 1 September 1968. Colonel Jones distinguished himself as the Pilot of an A-1H Skyraider aircraft near Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. On that day, as the on-scene commander in the attempted rescue of a downed U.S. pilot, Colonel Jones' aircraft was repeatedly hit by heavy and accurate anti-aircraft fire. On one of his low passes, Colonel Jones felt an explosion beneath his aircraft and his cockpit rapidly filled with smoke. With complete disregard of the possibility that his aircraft might still be burning, he unhesitatingly continued his search for the downed pilot. On this pass, he sighted the survivor and a multiple-barrel gun position firing at him from near the top of a karst formation. He could not attack the gun position on that pass for fear he would endanger the downed pilot. Leaving himself exposed to the gun position, Colonel Jones attacked the position with cannon and rocket fire on two successive passes. On his second pass, the aircraft was hit with multiple rounds of automatic weapons fire. One round impacted the Yankee Extraction System rocket mounted directly behind the headrest, igniting the rocket. His aircraft was observed to burst into flames in the center fuselage section, with flames engulfing the cockpit area. He pulled the extraction handle, jettisoning the canopy. The influx of fresh air made the fire burn with greater intensity for a few moments, but since the rocket motor had already burned, the extraction system did not pull Colonel Jones from the aircraft. Despite searing pains from severe burns sustained on his arms, hands, neck, shoulders, and face, Colonel Jones pulled his aircraft into a climb and attempted to transmit the location of the downed pilot and the enemy gun position to the other aircraft in the area. His calls were blocked by other aircraft transmissions repeatedly directing him to bail out and within seconds his transmitters were disabled and he could receive only on one channel. Completely disregarding his injuries, he elected to fly his crippled aircraft back to his base and pass on essential information for the rescue rather than bail out. Colonel Jones successfully landed his heavily damaged aircraft and passed the information to a debriefing officer while on the operating table. As a result of his heroic actions and complete disregard for his personal safety, the downed pilot was rescued later in the day. Colonel Jones' profound concern for his fellow man at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

General Orders: Department of the Air Force, Special Order GB-826 (June 23, 1970)

Action Date: September 1, 1968

Service: Air Force

Rank: Colonel

Company: 602d Special Operations Squadron

Regiment: 56th Special Operations Wing

Division: Nakon Phanom Royal Thai AFB, Thailand
Other Comments:
 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aviator (Command)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US Air ForceUnited States Air Forces in Europe (COMUSAFE/USAFE)Air Force Bases/ Installations509th Bombardment Wing, Medium
Air War College (Student) Headquarters Command (HQ USAF)602nd Special Operations Squadron56th Special Operations Wing
Hospital, Clinic and Dispensary Units1st Flying Training Squadron (Cadre)
  1948-1952, AAF MOS 770, Biggs Air Force Base
  1952-1956, 1021A, United States Air Forces in Europe (COMUSAFE/USAFE)
  1957-1959, 1021A, Chennault AFB
  1959-1965, 509th Bombardment Wing, Medium
  1965-1966, 1021A, Air War College (Student)
  1966-1968, Headquarters Command (HQ USAF)
  1968-1968, 1021A, 602nd Special Operations Squadron
  1968-1968, 56th Special Operations Wing
  1968-1969, Hospital, Clinic and Dispensary Units
  1969-1969, 00066, 1st Flying Training Squadron (Cadre)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam War
 Colleges Attended 
University of VirginiaUnited States Military AcademyAir War College
  1938-1942, University of Virginia
  1942-1945, United States Military Academy
  1965-1966, Air War College
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-24 Liberator  B-25 Mitchell  B-47 Stratojet  A-1 Skyraider (Sandy, Spad)  
T-29 Flying Classroom  T-33 Shooting Star (T-Bird)  T-39 Sabreliner  
  1945-1948, B-24 Liberator
  1945-1948, B-25 Mitchell
  1957-1965, B-47 Stratojet
  1968-1968, A-1 Skyraider (Sandy, Spad)1
  1969-1969, T-29 Flying Classroom
  1969-1969, T-33 Shooting Star (T-Bird)
  1969-1969, T-39 Sabreliner
Copyright Inc 2003-2011