Veteran Memorial: Neil Wade Jones

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(Photo from Honorstate.com)

Neil Wade Jones 

Neil Wade Jones was born May 13, 1946 in Cullman County. He lived in Cullman and graduated in 1964 from Cullman High School where he played football. He enlisted in the United States Army and served during Vietnam.  

Jones began his tour on July 22, 1971 with the 101st Airborne Division, 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry, D Company as a Specialist Four. His occupation was avionic communications equipment repairer.  

On December 31, 1971, the helicopter Jones was on crashed in the Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam due to hostile action. He was listed as the crew chief. He was just 25 years old when he was killed in action, leaving behind a wife and young child.  

Jones received the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation for Jones’ receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross states:  

“For heroism while participation in aerial flight evidenced by voluntary action above and beyond the call of duty in the Republic of Vietnam. Specialist Four Jones distinguished himself while serving as Crew Chief on an OH-6A observation helicopter during combat operations in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam. After an aircraft was downed during a visual reconnaissance mission, Specialist Jones displayed exceptional personal courage while placing accurate suppressive fire on known enemy positions. During the extraction of a wounded crew member, he prepared a resupply of ammunition and survival equipment for the downed crew members and then assisted the wounded soldier from the critical situation on the ground. Responding to the urgency of the situation, he expelled the ammunition and survival equipment while exposing himself to enemy fire as he reached for the wounded crewman. At that instant, the aircraft became the target of enemy fire. Although he was mortally wounded, he continued to deliver effective suppressive fire until the pilot cleared the area before succumbing to his wounds. His actions and courage were instrumental in saving the life of the crewmember and also, resupplying the downed crewmembers with essential equipment needed to protect their lives. Specialist Four Jones’ heroic actions and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.” 

 He is buried at Ebenezer Cemetery in West Point and honored on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington D.C. Panel 02w, Line 93. He is also memorialized at Cullman’s Veterans Memorial Park.  

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com