Don Jones was born on September 10, 1926, in Sturgis, Michigan, and grew up in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserve on October 10 1943, and attended pre-Aviation Cadet college training at Michigan Tech University from June 1944 until he went on active duty for pre-cadet basic, screening, and selection on March 1, 1945. He received an honorable discharge shortly after World War II ended on November 1, 1945, and then re-enlisted in the Army Air Forces on July 31, 1946, where he served as a radar technician at Mather Field, California, and was then selected for Aviation Cadet training on July 1, 1947. Jones was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force and awarded his pilot wings at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, on June 25, 1948. After completing Multi-Engine Advanced training at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, Lt Jones served with Flight B of the 4th Air Rescue Squadron at March Field, California, where he flew the L-5 Sentinel, SA-10 Catalina, SB-17 Flying Fortress, C-47 Skytrain, C-82 Packet, and L-13's, from June 1948 to June 1950. His next assignment was as an SA-10, SB-17, C-82, and SA-16 Albatross pilot with the 42nd Air Rescue Squadron at Ernest Harmon AB, Newfoundland, Canada, from June 1950 to December 1952, followed by service with Headquarters Air Rescue Service in Washington D.C., and then at Orlando AFB, Florida, from December 1952 to March 1957. Capt Jones served as an RB-57 Canberra and RB-66 Destroyer pilot and Assistant Operations Officer with the 1st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Spangdahlem AB, West Germany, from May 1957 to October 1958, and then as a Reconnaissance Staff Officer with Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe from October 1958 to May 1960. His next assignment was as a C-121 and RC-121 Constellation pilot with the 961st Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Squadron at Otis AFB, Massachusetts, from June 1960 to February 1962, followed by service with the 966th AEW&C Squadron at McCoy AFB, Florida, from February 1962 to February 1965. Maj Jones served as a Reconnaissance Staff Officer with Headquarters 5th Air Force at Fuchu AS, Japan, with additional duty as Staff Supervisor of 5th Air Force Direct Air Support units in South Korea, from February 1965 to 1967, and he then completed F-100 Super Sabre Combat Crew Training. LtCol Jones then served as an F-100 pilot with the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at Phu Cat AB, South Vietnam, from July 1967 to December 1968, and during this time he served as Commander of the Misty FAST FAC's flying F-100F's from December 1967 to April 1968. His next assignment was as an Operations Staff Officer and C-121, RC-121, and C-47 pilot with the 551st Airborne Early Warning Wing at Otis AFB from December 1968 to December 1969, followed by service as an EB-57 pilot with the 4713th Defense Systems Evaluation Squadron at Otis and then at Westover AFB, Massachusetts, from December 1969 to 1973. During this time LtCol Jones served as Executive Officer, Operations Officer, and then as Commander of the 4713th. He then served as Senior Air Force Advisor to the Vermont Air National Guard from 1973 until his retirement from the Air Force in 1976. After his retirement from the Air Force, Don flew as a charter pilot and with Civil Air Patrol from 1976 to 2011. He has amassed over 16,300 flying hours in 65 types of military and civilian aircraft during his flying career. Don Jones was Misty 35.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
Lieutenant Colonel Donald G. Jones distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an F-100 Forward Air Controller flying over North Vietnam on 27 December 1967. On that date, Colonel Jones conducted attacks over hostile antiaircraft sites, diving his aircraft through extremely intense barrages of flak, making accurate marking rounds for attacking fighters. After placing the marking rounds, he continued to use his own aircraft as a decoy to draw flak from the less maneuverable, ordnance laden aircraft. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Colonel jones has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.