Charles Curtis “Buck” Jones was born April 5, 1922, in Glasgow. Kentucky. A member of the Glasgow High School Class of 1940, he had just begun attending Centre College when the Attack on Pearl Harbor occurred, plunging the USA into World War II. As many young men did at the time, he went to his local recruiting office that day to join the US Army Air Corps but was turned away because of his age. His active duty career finally began in February 1942 and lasted for 23 years.
Buck was commissioned in the Army Air Forces Reserve (allowing him to serve “for the duration”) at Napier Field in Dothan, Alabama. His flying skills were needed as an Advanced Single Engine Pilot Instructor until after the war. Several worldwide assignments followed: Guam, the Philippines, and six stateside billets qualified him in the F-86 Sabre and took him to Korea as Squadron Executive Officer. He returned to the US after that conflict, and assumed command of the 452nd Fighter Day Squadron at Foster AFB in Texas, flying the supersonic F-100C. This squadron was instrumental in perfecting the “Hun’s” mid-air-refueling capability, making it the first operational, supersonic refuelable squadron of its day. His squadron was the first to use this capability to deliver fighter jets to England non-stop from the continental US, setting speed records on the way.
While in England, Major Jones was chosen to participate in the commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown. On November 5, 1957, his flight of three aircraft (using mid-air-refueling) made the non-stop London to Jamestown crossing in a record seven hours and 41 minutes. For the occasion, the wife of Winston Churchill christened his aircraft “Discovery,” one of the original ships to settle the colony. He brought several historical documents and medals as gifts from the British government to mark the historic milestone.
Jones was granted a full commission in the USAF in 1958 and was promoted to Lt Colonel. Following his graduation from the USAF Command and Staff College, he was assigned as Deputy Commander for Operations for the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, a nuclear-capable strike fighter wing in Lakenheath, England. He retired in 1965, returned to Glasgow, and was the owner of Modern Food Mart. Jones passed away on February 22. 2007. His wife of 69 years, Elizabeth, passed away in 2012. He is survived by four children; J.C., Tom, Chuck, and Curt Jones.
His awards include the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and other standard theater and service ribbons for the period served.