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The Greatest Generation

Posted Friday, October 5, 2007, at 4:29 PM

With the passing of my dear father this week, it should remind us all that those veterans of the last great war, WWII, are becoming more scarce everyday. I submit the following brief summary of his life in honor of all of America's veterans, including those serving their country at this very moment.

Howard Jones was a naval aviator serving aboard the Yorktown aircraft carrier during WWII. He saw much action in the Pacific theatre and survived many close encounters with the water and hard ground (e.g. crash landings). His last mission was with friendlies on a practice run out of San Diego, whereupon he had to exit his aircraft after a mid-air collision. The pilot of the other aircraft didn't make it, but Howard did, parachuting into the ocean. Because his leg was nearly severed by the spinning tail-section of his plane, he spent many months in the hospital recovering and subsequently was nursed back to health by my mother and his wife to be, Mary Elizabeth Owens Jones. He received the Navy Cross, the navy's highest award for valor, but only after he promised to retire from the Navy and quit tearing up any more airplanes. He married his wife and moved to Dyersburg, Tennessee, to manage the Airlene Gas Company. They lived on Victory Street and formed close friendships with their neighbors that would last for decades. Later he managed an insurance company, started a Savings and Loan, opened Highlander Dry Cleaners and Laundry, Kleen Kare, and Culligan Water Conditioning of Dyersburg. Howard loved golf, cards, football, and Arkansas, and as such, he was known by many of his peers as the "luckiest man in town." He taught me how to live life honestly and with integrity. The only thing he tried to do, and couldn't, was teach me how to catch fish, but in every other category, he was my mentor.


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Your father was a great man.

My father was also a member of the Greatest Generation. He was a member of the First Cavalry Division of Patton's Third Army. He and his jeep, with a .50 caliber machine gun mounted upon it, were among the first Allied vehicles to cross the Rhine River in 1945. He was also a great man.

-- Posted by Johnny Yuma on Thu, Oct 11, 2007, at 8:34 PM

Victory Street. Fitting. Honors to the members of the Greastest Generation including the late Danny Grogran, our Pearl Harbor survivor. Tom Brokaw, who wrote the Greatest Generation, will speak at Freed-Hardeman University December 7.

-- Posted by gb on Mon, Oct 22, 2007, at 8:31 PM

I had a mentor exactly like your dad. My uncle was like a father to me when my father was not able to be there. He owned and operated Klassic Body Shop for over twenty years. He instilled into me a sincere love of working on cars and that is a gift that I hope never leaves me. You never realize how big of a blessing they are until they are gone. He was only in my life for 14 years but he gave me a lifetime of memoriesl.

-- Posted by sarah240 on Mon, Nov 5, 2007, at 1:22 PM


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