Ira Boyd Jones III
“Jonesie” or “Sonny” as called at home in Lancaster, SC, spent his first two years of college at the Citadel and then graduated from the University of South Carolina. After graduation, he entered the insurance business and was connected with the South Carolina Rating and Inspection Bureau of Columbia. On 04 September 1941, Sonny enlisted as an aviation cadet in the Army Air Corps. Preflight was at Maxwell Field, Montgomery, AL; Primary at Bennettsville, SC; Basic at Shaw Field, Sumter, SC; Advanced at Spence Army Airfield, Moultrie, GA where he earned his wings on 29 April 1942. He was cadet 1st Captain in all phases of flying school and Commandant of Cadets at Spence in his first assignment as a new ‘looie.’
He served as Ed McComas’ assistant while Ed was the Operations Officer of the 66th Observation Group. In September 1943, Ed McComas assumed command of the 118th and Jonesie was selected to be his Operations Officer. He served in this capacity in India and China. In China, during later hospitalization of Ed, Jonesie ran the highly acclaimed squadron during hectic times. He left China in mid-1944 for the job of Director of Training at ‘Chennault Fighting School’ Karachi, India. He left that job in the fall of 1944 for stateside assignment in Flight Test, Wright-Patterson under Col W. H. Council. Ironically he and ‘Wild Bill’ were lost on P-80 speed flights from Wright-Patterson. Jonesie died on 02 August 1945 over Bradenton, KY in an aerial explosion on the way to Texas in a P-80A Shooting Star, ship number 44-83029.
Many will remember Ira as a fine guy, good pilot, and as a maker of 14th Air Force History. His classmates will recall his very military recitation of his aviation cadet serial number.
“FO-TEEN, OH FO, EIGHT FO, EIGHT FO, SUH”