Newspaper Archive of
The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
August 15, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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August 15, 2018

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Page 2A Stanley Jones, 100, part of Mighty 8th By Will Davis publishér©mymcrnel Stanley Jones knew what he wanted to do when he was assigned to the 8th Army Air Corps in 1941, but the Georgia boy had a change of heart when he arrived in England. “I wanted to be a pilot,” the lOO-year—old Jones told the Reporter while visiting his nephew Lee Willing- ham in Forsyth last month. “But after I got into the war, I was glad I wasn’t.” That’s because Jones saw up close how the Nazis shot up those B-17 planes like a piece of Swiss cheese. He supervised a team of weld- ers in England tasked with patching up those B-17 bombers so they could be sent back to take out more Nazis, and, sure as fire, take on more flak. Jones and his boys would help the 8th Army Air Corps earn its fame as the Mighty8th during World War 2, as Allied planes liberated Europe from the Nazi war machine. “I’m glad I could keep you from talking German,” smiled Jones. But it wasn’t a sure thing when they arrived. Jones’ unit lost over 150 planes in three years, and another 150 were rendered inoper- able by the Nazi guns. “We were losing,’ recalled Jones, “until we got the P—47.” The P-47 planes ran interference ahead of Allied aircraft, drawing enemy fire and freeing up Allied bombers to hit their targets. “They won the war,’ says Jones, matter of factly. Jones was born on Feb. 10, 1918, “at am.” adds Jones, who still very much has his wits about him. He was born in Camilla, and was justtwo when his father died at age 42, leav— ing his mother to raise five kids as a single mom. His sister, Adonis, was born two months after their father passed. That sister would later go to Bessie Tift College in Forsyth and stayed here, marrying Mr. Willingharn and going to work at Tift before having their son, Jones’ host, Lee. Meanwhile, Jones was drafted in 1941 and arrived in Great Britain with the soon-to-be Mighty 8th in July 1942. Jones said if he had to be overseas, there was no better place than England. “I couldn’t ask for much better,” said Jones. “The people were nice.” But the nights were not so nice. German bombers dropped their munitions on England at night and of- ten got very close to Jones’ little hut, which sat about 20 miles outside of Lon- don. But in the daytime, when he wasn’t working on planes, Jones was able to see the countryside despite having no vehicle. “I rode 1 million miles on a bike over there,’ ’ said Jones. “And hitchhiked a long time.” Motorists were good back then about picking up hitchhikers, including one time when the head of the Belgian Navy picked him up and gave him a ride. But most of the time, Jones was trying to weld those B-17s back together. One plane returned from a particularly bad run with so many bullet holes that Jones couldn’t put his hand anywhere in the radio com— partment without touching a hole. “But the pilot didn’t have a scratch!” Jones exclaimed. Perhaps the hardest repair job they had came when the B—17s were lined up on the runway to take off and the radio operator told the first pilot to scrap the mission because it was too foggy. The second pilot in line didn’t get the mes- sage and tried to take off and plowed a hole in the first plane, recalled Jones. It wasn’t all work for Jones in England. The then-24-year-old also found time to court a pretty l9-year-old named Nancy from Australia. They mar- ried in a country church in England and proceeded to have two children there. Meanwhile, the Allies drove the Germans out ‘l’m gladil could keep you from talking German." - Stanley Jones, World War II veteran County hires Robinson for finance of France and Jones’ unit began to work on planes for the invasion of north Africa. When the war was over, Jones and his unit were able to take a 10-hour plane ride at 2,000 feet over France and Europe to see what the war and their B-17s had done to the landscape. Jones said it was incredible to see the Stanley Jones, left, with his nephew Lee Willingham of Forsyth. Jones helped repair B- l7s, left, in England dur- ing the war. destruction. Next, Jones helped with the Green Project, whose mission was getting all the US. troops back home, including himself. Jones said he returned home without much fan- fare and went right back to the job he had four years earlier. “There was no glory about it,” said Jones. “I came home just like I hadn’t been anywhere. Made no big story about it. I came home more or less by myself?’ He had to leave his wife and two children in August l5, 2018 MOPSCONS/GNMEN T. COM ‘ MOPS of Macon/Forsyth Fal|&ltfinter Air Corps England while they worked through immigration, and finally went back and got them and brought them to Florida. He and Nancy would have five children, one of which died. Then Nancy died rather young in the 19608. Jones spent 43 years as a salesman for what became Fry Wholesale, a candy company, selling to stores in five south Florida coun- ties. After 10 years as a wid— ower, Jones married his second wife, Nadine, and each of them had three boys and a girl. When he wasn’t work- ing, Jones loved to hunt, whether deer in the Ever- glades or caribou in Alaska, where his son lived. He retired in 1979 never dreaming he would live to be 100. “Nobody in my family has lived this long,” said Jones. “My uncle Henry lived to be 93.” His second wife died three years ago, after 39 years of marriage, and Jones now lives with his son in south Florida. So what does he make of the country today? “Somebody’s played ill with it,” sighed Jones. “I don’t agree with a lot of things going on now.’ ’ Jones said after he retired in 1979 there seemed to be a gap separating him from current events. “So much happened that I can’t fathom,” said Jones. Nevertheless, Jones said he’s lived a good life, and enjoyed his visit to Forsyth. 3 Richard Dumas from June 1987 consecutive years, ’ ' ' ' ' t 0 rolwhanymme. toluly120133. She ficurrifgéatgloo ChildrensConSIgnmentFundraiser was se ecte over 0 near y , . Monroe County Com- one other final- interest and F M missioners have hired Lorri Qiéionl-based fienalgtes. sheveral *Shop at 8:30AMwitha $3 donation toJay’s Hope* Robinson as the coun ’5 ar es ays er en- new finance director. W Jones» and She has COQmY manager Saturday August _ “missm‘smi' “it‘lys‘med ivn‘tiBmcefire-d 8AM-1PM-HALF PRICE DAY mousl a roved Robin- W0f ‘ oo ey, commrs— . son’s at their Tues- Robinson, who ROBINSON sioners demoted *Halfpnce ONLY on items malted REDUCED * day, Aug. 7 meeting at an was Present at the . Buice to zoning annual salary of $85,000. fine rlneetlilpsgIil w 1 f ofliger anhirfd Robinson, who lives in rep ace ey oo ey, ormer coun a minis ra- Monticello, has served as Who was fired in lune after tor Gail King on an interim 2560 US 41 South 0 Forsyth, GA 31029 Hen coun Assistant more than five years of basis until a new county Finagée Direzor since jujy running the county’s fi- manager can be found. WWW- m o p 5C0 n S I g n m e nt-CO m 2013, having previously nance department. Wooley . servedas Director of Fi- failed t0 pay County payroll . ‘ nance and Administration taxes to the federal and Local Business ‘ a and Assistant City Manager state governments in a with the City of Fayetteville timely manner for two 40 Rumble Road, Forsyth, Ga. 31029 478-994-9282 it ~ F i. F Eat - Learn - er Protessioally it: August 23 at 12 noon In the 34 Fellowship Hall _’_ v an Covered Dlsh Lunch “18 12:00PM . The HALO GROUP of Middle Georgia mems 1‘0ch Tj‘m ls neW'Y‘ermed "OP-Prom organ'zat'on End of Summer Celebration Carnival .. . . . . l 75, With a mission to train, employ and house To mark the end of Summer Reading and all the hard work you w ; M j W , , p w a! - at adults With intellectual and developmental put in reading this year, Saturday, August 25, 2018, at 12:00pm t’ "it ‘ ‘ i "- cm disabilities and autism. we will be celebrating with a carnival! There will be food, fun, ‘ [may] 6‘ year” 42% 77,4”de 01p may] MOW] inflatables and activities all over the place! (I: . , Come celebrate your ROCKING READING summer! w Follow our events on Facebook at ‘ ’ , r i ‘4 Monroe County Library ‘ 62 W. Main St - Forsyth, Ga 31029 478.994.7025 or our web page htth/wwwmtzionsmarncom 4