This story and photo came to us from Mrs. Lyn Shinn, Ensign Jones' sister, who was 13 years old when she lost her brother; Lyn still lives in Coronado. Megan Warneke is a CHA Museum Educator. The Coronado Historical Association staff learned of this story while doing research for our next exhibit, Coronado on the Frontline: 1942-45, which will open in March 2012. For more information on Coronado history, visit the Coronado Historical Association and Museum of History and Art.
Ensign Herbert C. Jones, 23, of Coronado awarded a Medal of Honor (posthumously)
By Megan E. Warneke
The events of December 7, 1941, wounded the heart of every proud American. Captain and Mrs. Herbert A. Jones of Coronado felt a pain worse than most; their only son, Ensign Herbert Charpiot Jones, serving aboard the USS California, paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country that morning.
Herb, as he was known by family and friends, was a fun-loving California native who spent summers with friends sunning by the pool at the Hotel Del, but the kind of man who was always prepared to fight for his country, and following in his father’s footsteps, enlisted in the US Navy in 1935, as a reservist. In 1940, he entered and passed an intensive training program to become an officer.
As a young officer, Ensign Jones understood the events unfolding around the world at the time, and, like so many others, proposed to his college sweetheart, Joanne, well aware of the possibility of the United States entering into World War II.
They married shortly before the USS California weighed anchor for Pearl Harbor.
Herb’s ship was one of the first to be hit by Japanese bombs and when her ammunition hoists were badly damaged he quickly organized an ammunition passing party. In the midst of the chaos, he was struck by a bomb but refused rescue, fearing for the safety of those coming to his aid.
Ensign Jones stayed true to the proud naval tradition of “Fight her till she sinks and don’t give up the ship!” He stayed aboard the California doing all he could to fight for the fleet even while mortally wounded.
Ensign Jones was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Two years later, the US Navy commissioned the USS Herbert Jones (DE-137), with his young widow as the sponsor.
Ensign Herbert Charpiot Jones’ actions and his sacrifice will echo for eternity for his family, and for the townsfolk who will always be proud to call him one of their own.
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