JONES, Major General David M., one of the famous Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, died of heart failure on November 25, 2008, at his home in Tucson, Arizona. Jones was born December 18, 1913, at Marshfield, Oregon, attended high school in Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona in 1932. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Cavalry arm of the Arizona Army National Guard and transferred to the Army Air Corps for pilot training which he completed in June 1938. In February 1942, he volunteered as a pilot for the secret project organized by Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle which became the attack by 16 Army Air Force bombers launched from the Navy Carrier USS Hornet on April 18, 1942. The bombers attacked Tokyo and four other Japanese cities in retaliation for the infamous surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 by Japanese naval forces. Jones had to bail out over China after the mission. After returning to the States, Jones was assigned to a bomb group in North Africa and was shot down over Bizerte on his fifth mission. He was captured and spent the next one and a half years in a German prison in Stalag Luft III. He was selected as a member of the "escape committee" by his fellow prisoners to review escape plans and participated in digging one of three tunnels labeled Tom, Dick and Harry. He was liberated in April 1945. In the years following, Jones attended three major Armed Forces schools followed by assignments in research and development. He was director of the B-58 Test Force and at one time had more super-sonic flying time in that aircraft than any other USAF pilot. In 1961, he was named vice commander of the Aeronautical Systems Division at Wright-Patterson AFB and deputy commander for the GAM-87 air launched ballistic missile. After this project was cancelled, he was named deputy chief of staff for systems at the Air Force Systems Command and in 1964 he became deputy associate for Manned Space Flight with NASA. In 1967, he was appointed commander of the Air Force Eastern Test Range at Cape Kennedy, Florida for Manned Space Flight. He retired as a major general on May 31, 1973. General Jones was preceded in death by his first wife, Anita Maddox Jones and is survived by his wife, Janna-Neen; daughter, Jere Jean and husband Dennis Yeager of San Antonio and sons, David M. Jones, Jr. and wife Joni of Ft. Myers, Florida and James M. Jones and wife Julie of Tehachapi, California. No funeral service is planned at this time. He will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in his memory be made to a charity of choice or to the James H. Doolittle Scholarship Fund c/o Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, 48 Blaschke Road, Comfort, TX. There are now nine survivors of the original 80 men who made their daring flight in 1942 that gave Americans the first good news of World War II.
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Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Dec. 2, 2008