HERBERT HARRIS JONES, JR departed this life on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 after an extended illness. He was the eldest child of the late Herbert Harris Jones and Geneva Tinsley Jones. Born on November 9, 1923, in the historical community of Deanwood in Southeast Washington, D.C., he attended Deanwood Elementary and was a graduate of Dunbar High School. During this time he flew with Clarence Chamberlain at D.C.’s Capitol Airport and with his lifelong friend and mentor (Chief) Alfred Anderson. He studied at Howard University prior to the beginning of World War II.
Jones enrolled at the Cornelius Coffey School of Aeronautics in Chicago for six months under the Civilian Pilot Training Program. Following this, he was an Army Air Corps aviation cadet during World War II, training at Moton Field in Tuskegee, AL just prior to the end of the war. Denied postwar pilot opportunities with the major airlines due to racism, Jones’ love for aviation never waned. He joined with John Green as an instructor with Cloud Club, a group of Black airmen who operated and flew out of Columbia Air Center (CAC) in Croom, MD., the first Black owned and operated airfield in the U.S. Later he became a co-owner of the Columbia Air Center (CAC).
Herbert Jones enjoyed a 30 year career at the Patent Office, U. S. Department of Commerce as a patent researcher.
An all-Black Civil Air Patrol squadron (Columbia Squadron) also operated at Columbia Air Center; Jones trained the cadets as a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) staff officer, ultimately promoted to Director of Flight Operations and the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. For almost 30 years, Jones worked tirelessly, grooming cadets in the Civil Air Patrol core values of integrity, volunteer service, excellence, and respect. He retired from CAP in 1976, but never strayed far from aviation.
In 1972, Jones and four others purchased a DC-7 and started International Air Association, Inc. a Black-owned airline and travel club and that offered flights to New York, Houston, Miami, the Bahamas, and Trinidad. Operating out of National Airport in D.C., and later Martin Field outside of Baltimore, Md.; Jones, along with pilots Joseph Buebe, Lloyd LaGrange and flight attendants Barbara Carter and Roberta Yancey, made history as one of a first Black owned air transport carriers in the U.S.
A decade later, Jones realized his dream of opening a flight school, Cloud Club II. Jones said, “Watching students fly solo for the first time is probably the second biggest thrill of my life.” The flight school advanced Jones’ lifelong goal of involving more African American youth in aviation. Cloud Club II was founded by Jones and his wife, Mildred Nelson, and from 1987-2006, provided annual support to the East Coast Chapter Tuskegee Airmen International (ECCTAI) Youth in Aviation Program. Today, that legacy lives on with the flight school named in his honor-H.J. Aviation building upon an 80 year legacy of aviation training.
Herbert was a lifelong active member of both the East Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen International (ECCTAI), and the local chapter of the Black Pilot’s of America (BPA), the Herbert Jones Chapter is named in his honor. Herbert attended Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, where he was a member of the Brotherhood Men’s Fellowship Group.
He is preceded in death by his brother Edward Jones, his sister in law Effie Jones, his first-wife Dorothy Rowe Jones and his first cousin and fellow Tuskegee Airman -Andrew Turner. He is survived by his loving wife Mildred Nelson (Cloud Club II Co-Founder), two sons, Herbert Harris Jones III and Rodney Tinsley Jones. Two daughters in law Joselyn Schmidt -Jones and Angela Jones; his grandson Leslie Schmidt; two extraordinary sisters Florence Jones Pritchett and Sylvia Jones Suescun and nephews James Pritchett , Franz Jones and Kevin Jones and a host of relatives and great long time, valued friends.
Col. Charles Mcgee first time viewing his 1945 photo from Italy in Hangar 2! We love when we get to host our Airmen in the place where it began! March 30th, 2019.
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