On Sunday, May 19, 2019, Donald S. Jones, passed away at the age of 78. Don was born Oct. 11, 1941, in San Mateo, Calif. to Kenneth and Loretta (Ballard) Jones. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from San Francisco State College in 1964 and a master’s degree in national security affairs, Middle Eastern studies, from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1978. He completed Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College.
Don joined the United States Air Force and received his commission through Officer Training School in 1965. His first assignment was to Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, where he graduated from pilot training in December 1966. He was then assigned to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas as a T-37 instructor pilot. While at Randolph, he also served as a squadron check pilot. In January 1970, he was assigned to Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, for RF-4C aircraft commander training, and subsequently was assigned to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. During his tour of duty at Udorn during Vietnam, he logged more than 300 combat hours. In November 1971, he was assigned to Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa, Japan, where he served as an RF-4C aircraft commander, flight commander and wing flight safety officer.
Don was next assigned to Headquarters 12th Air Force, Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, as an operations inspector. In 1975 he was selected as the assistant air attaché designate to Pakistan. He reported to Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, in January 1976 to begin study for his master’s degree. After completing two years of study, including nearly one year of Arabic language training, Colonel Jones departed for six months’ aircraft training and area study courses. In June 1978, he assumed his duties as assistant air attaché to Pakistan. He returned to the United States in November 1979.
In January 1980, he was assigned to Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, as section chief of the T-38 Flying Training Squadron. Subsequently, he was selected as chief of wing safety and as Air Training Command’s nominee for U.S. Air Force Safety Officer of the Year.
He was assigned next as commandant of troops at Defense Language Institute, English Language Center, Lackland Air Force Base, in 1983. He commanded a five-squadron organization that was responsible for the command and control, military training and morale, and health and welfare of up to 2,000 students undergoing English language training.
In July 1986 Colonel Jones was assigned to San Antonio Air Force Logistics Center, Kelly Air Force Base, Texas. He served as chief of the Programs Management Branch of the International Logistics Division. And in 1988 he began his second attaché assignment as air attaché again in Islamabad, Pakistan returning to the United States in 1990.
Colonel Jones’ final assignment for the United States Air Force was chief of the International Engine Division Air Logistics Center, San Antonio, Texas 1990-1991. He retired from the Air Force in 1991 after a distinguished 26-year career serving his country. He was a command pilot with more than 3,600 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Colonel Jones was married to the former Sharon L. Ditler of Sacramento, Calif. for almost 56 years. Together they raised two children, Michael and Wendy. He was an avid golf player, reader, and loved to travel.
Don was preceded in death by his parents Ken and Loretta. He is survived by his wife Sharon, his two children Michael and Wendy and his five grandchildren, Tyler, Garrett, Carson, Luke, and Lauren.
A small graveside memorial service will be held in the Peacham, Vermont Cemetery June 1, 2019, at 11 o’clock a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations are made in his name to America’s Vet Dogs, www.vetdogs.org to honor his love of dogs and his military service.