b. 01/12/1918 Los Angeles, California. d. 07/12/1941 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 07/12/1941 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Herbert Jones was born on January 21, 1918, at Los Angeles, California and enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve May 14, 1935. He was commissioned an ensign on November 14, 1940, and reported to the battleship USS California (BB-44) at Pearl Harbor two weeks later.
On December 7, 1941, the 23-year-old ensign was about to relieve the officer-of-the-deck on California when Japanese planes swooped in to attack. In the first wave, a torpedo and a bomb hit the ship. Jones dove into a smoke-filled hatchway and crawled along oil-slick decks to rescue a stricken sailor before being temporarily overcome by fumes. Reviving, he saw an antiaircraft battery without a leader and, staggering to his feet, took command. As a second wave of Japanese planes came in, the young officer fired his guns until all their ammunition was expended. Since the torpedo had put California’s ammunition hoist out of action, Jones quickly organized a party of volunteers to go below and pass the ammunition up by hand. The vitally needed shells had just begun to reach the battery when a bomb hit the ship and mortally wounded him.
For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. Ens. Jones organized and led a party which was supplying ammunition to the antiaircraft battery of the U.S.S. California after the mechanical hoists were put out of action, when he was fatally wounded by a bomb explosion. When two men attempted to take him from the area which was on fire, he refused to let them do so, saying in words to the effect, “Leave me alone! I am done for. Get out of here before the magazines go off.”
BURIAL LOCATION: FORT ROSECRANS NATIONAL CEMETERY, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA.
SECTION G, GRAVE 76.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: BELIEVED TO BE FAMILY.