JONES, VIRGIL LEE, Staff Sergeant, # 38412800, USAAF
Virgil L. Jones was born on 17 September 1923 in Galveston, Texas, to Walter Lee Jones (1893-1953) (TX) and Enid Marie (Lyon) Jones (1895-1959) (WI) (married 25 October 1922, Cook Co., IL). Siblings were Joy Jennice (Jones) Poore (1925- ) and Crystal Jean Jones (1934-2005).
He registered for the WWII draft, employed by the Pennsylvania Shipyards, resided at 2585 Forrest, Beaumont, Jefferson Co., TX, and described himself as 5’2 ½”, 100 lbs, with red hair and blue eyes. He noted that he wore glasses. After he enlisted in the USAAF, he was trained to maintain the weapons (armorer) and to shoot the .50 caliber machine gun on the B-24 Liberator. He earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas through India to China. On 11 February 1945 a B-24L, # 44-41448, assigned to 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 373rd Bomb Squadron, Luliang, China, departed on a night mission to bomb shipping in the Tonkin Gulf, French Indochina. Last radio contact was at 2320 Zulu, that the B-24L was heading for coordinates 21° 10’ North and 107° 30’ East and intended to bail out there. Last position was off Tien-Yen, French Indochina, near Ka-Bao Island. The following radio messages were received: 2300 – 60 miles off coast. Bad fuel lead # 3 tank. Engine # 3 on fire. 9,000’ altitude; 2305 – heading for 21° 45’ N & 108° 00’ E, intending to bail out there; 2310 – trying to make it to “Darkhorse;” 2320 – heading for 21° 10’ N & 107° 30’ E, intending to bail out there. 1stLt William H. Stafford, navigator, was the sole survivor and returned to duty 5 March 1945. He is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. A memorial marker was placed in the Calvary Cemetery, Marlin, Falls Co., Texas.
His father, born 11 February 1893, served in the U.S. Army during WWI from 27 April 1918 to 19 June 1919, a bugler, # 2810410, in the 90th Division, 360th Infantry Regiment, Co. B. He died on 28 January 1953 and is buried in the Calvary Cemetery, Marlin, Texas.