DALLAS JONES: PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR
By Christine Baldwin and Dallas Jones
Our resident of the month is Dallas Jones. Dallas is a native of North Carolina. He is a twenty year Navy veteran. A Pearl Harbor survivor, he was a veteran of not only WWII, but of the Korean conflict as well.
At Kaneohe on December 7, Dallas was awakened by strafing aircraft. Running to the hanger to discover that several of the planes were already ablaze, Dallas recovered a .50 caliber machine gun from one of the burning aircraft and handed it down to a fellow crew member. They then proceeded to mount the machine gun on a piece of pipe recovered from a public works truck. As predicted, a formation of three Japanese bombers flew over the hanger and they began firing on the oncoming planes. As the bombs were dropped, Dallas detected that the bombs were going to hit close as they formed as “perfect circle” as they came down. As the bombs hit the hanger it proceeded to bulge on all sides prior to settling. It was this bombing of the hanger that Dallas lost seven shipmates. When the bombing was over, the ordnance officer and several ordnance men were able to set the machine gun in a gun emplacement on the “top of the hill” that was part of the lookout station for the local area. This hill became the post for the rest of the night. Needless to say it was a miserable night.
In combat situations during most of WWII flying as a bombardier in Consolidated PBY patrol aircraft in the Pacific and in 1943-44, PB4Y-1 (B24) out of England performing anti-submarine patrols over the Bay of Biscay. Dallas was part of six straight days of 12-14 hour patrols over the Pacific looking for the Japanese fleet prior to and during the Battle of Midway. Upon return from the Battle of Midway, five days of anticipated “R and R” was cut short after only 2 days when the Squadron was recalled to the Southwest Pacific in preparation for the invasion of Guadalcanal. His crew flew 50 missions during this deployment. In April 1943, Dallas became a crew member of VB-103, flying as a bombardier in a PB4Y-1 aircraft. The nucleus of experienced personnel was selected from PBY Squadron personnel who had recently returned from combat in the Pacific. Pilots and crewmen were given absolutely NO PB4Y-1 training. Originally, there were no maintenance service unit; squadron personnel performed all maintenance. “We were in a situation where we had to learn as went along.” Unfortunately, this inexperience cost the lives of some of the crewmen, as well as aircraft. In the first year alone casualties’ totaled 8 aircraft lost along with seventy officers and men.
On January 28th, 1944 Dallas was part of an assigned escort to a convoy off the coast of Ireland. Dallas’ plane “The Bloody Miracle” sighted a German submarine on the surface, later determined to be U271. They followed the attack plan; the pilot came in at 240 knots at an altitude of 100 feet. Adjusting the bombsight for proper deployment of ordnance, bombs were released on target. Exploding just under the stern of the sub, the submarine sank stern first.
After retiring after 20 years in the Navy, Dallas worked in aerospace engineering with Aerojet General in California. Returning to his native North Carolina after 15 years with Aerojet, he built a home on the family homestead and became actively involved with veterans affairs, including the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and MOAA.
In 2008 he founded the Roanoke Valley Veterans Center in Roanoke Rapids, NC to honor local veterans. This Veterans Center is still going strong today.
Dallas was married to the Peggy Sue Tooley in 1951, and had two children, two grand children, and one great grandson.
Dallas became a resident of the AFRH in February, 2012 and enjoys the camaraderie of his fellow veterans.