|Private Raymond Harrison Jones was born to James H. and Doris O'Dell Taylor Jones in Collier, Brooke County, West Virginia on January 15, 1918. He was the second oldest of 14 children. On June 8, 1944, he married 18-year-old Elizabeth Gladys Flowers in Follansbee, Brooke County, West Virginia. They had no children.|
On March 21, 1944, he joined the Marine Corps, where he wrote letters of his experiences home to his siblings and parents. He served with the 6th Marine Division. Although he was supposed to take leave, Raymond volunteered to be in the first wave of invaders on the island of Okinawa. This is where on May 10, 1945, Raymond met his death.
|Raymond's remains were buried in the 6th Marine Division Cemetery in Okinawa. A memorial marker is also located at the St. John's Cemetery, Brooke County, West Virginia. He is also memorialized at the American Cemetery in Honolulu, Hawaii. For his service, Raymond was awarded the Purple Heart.|
|Perhaps even more tragic is that this family endured the loss of a second son to war. Corporal Thomas Dale "Dewey" Jones was born in Collier, Brooke County, West Virginia on January 30, 1929. He enlisted with the Army, and served with Battery "A", 52nd Field Artillery Battalion, 24th Infantry Division. Jones was stationed in Japan at Camp Hakata, a former Japanese sea-plane base.|
Thomas Dale "Dewey" Jones at Fort Knox, Kentucky
|During the summer of 1950, the North Korean troops began breaking through the lines of the South Korean and American defenders, and reinforcements were desperately needed. One of the units called up was Dewey's. Dewey's 1st Sargent was told, "We have got to sacrifice you for the sake of time." On July 5, 1950, Dewey's Regiment engaged the enemy despite being outnumbered and outgunned. They managed to hold their ground for several hours. However, the enemy finally broke through. One of Dewey's commanders heard the only radio message sent by his men, "The tanks are coming through. We cannot stop them." All of the men were lost, either captured or killed by the enemy.|
|Dewey was one of those captured, and along with other Prisoners of War, was marched North. The POW's were in the custody of a particularly brutal man the prisoners call The Tiger. Those too sick or weak to keep up were executed, and the prisoners were mistreated in other ways. Winter set in, and the men were not given adequate clothing, food, or medical attention. Weak from malnutrition, Dewey succumbed on January 1, 1950. He was buried in an unmarked mass grave with many of his comrades and his body was never found. However, a young private and fellow POW named Johnnie Johnson was keeping a secret list of all those who died while in captivity. Using scraps of paper from discarded cigarette boxes, he recorded the names, ranks, date of death, and hometowns of those who died. Dewey's name is on that list.|
Dewey Jones and Jerry Smith
His sacrifice was not in vain, however, for the time that he and his men stalled the enemy bought the much-needed time the United States forces and their allies needed to prepare for the counter-attack. For his service, Dewey was awarded the Bronze Star, the Prisoner of War Medal, the Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. One man wrote of Dewey, "...I had complete faith in him as an outstanding soldier and a fighting man of great spirit. It is because of him and men like him that we are able to enjoy the freedom in America today."
Information and photographs were generously donated by James and Martha Jones, Ormond Beach, FL
West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history. For more information contact Constance Baston at (304) 558-0230.
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