Jones, David C.
1979 TLS as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, regrets he is unable to address the National Security Seminar at the Army War College
Autograph ID: 6750
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1921-2013) US Air Force general, 9th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He received his private pilot license in college and in April 1942, joined the Army Air Force as a 2nd Lieut. He was with the 3rd Emergency Rescue Squadron of the 5th Air Force in Japan in 1945, and rose to command his squadron. He flew 300+ hours on combat missions over No. Korea. Jones served at Strategic Air Command HQ during SAC’s build-up period, becoming General Curtis LeMay’s aide in Jan. 1955, soon promoted to Colonel. He commanded the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB then served in Europe as Brigadier General. He received his 2nd star in Nov. 1967 and in Feb. 1969, was assigned to 7th Air Force HQ at Tan Son Nhut Airfield in Vietnam as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and became Vice Commander in June. As Lieut. General, he returned to SAC in Aug. 1969 to command the 2nd Air Force in Louisiana. In April 1971, Jones returned to Europe, commanding USAFE and NATO’s 4th Allied Tactical Air Force, promoted to General in Sept. At NATO, he created a small operational and planning headquarters, Allied Air Force, Central Europe. Capping a career that had included operational and command positions in bomber, tanker, training and tactical fighter units as well as headquarters staff positions, Jones became Air Force Chief of Staff July 1974 and pursued a policy of developing high-tech weapons systems, reorganized the command structure, substantially reducing HQ staffs, and supported modernization with systems as the F-15, F-16, A-10, and E-3A. He accompanied President Carter to Vienna in June 1979 for the final stage of the SALT II negotiations with the USSR. When the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan raised fears that USSR forces might move into Iran, where Khomeini had taken power in early 1979, Carter created a rapid deployment force for SW Asia and at the direction of the Secretary of Defense, Jones oversaw planning for the transformation of the Rapid Defense Force into a regional unified command. The planning for what in 1983 became the US Central Command (USCENTCOM) was essentially completed during his chairmanship. Jones also oversaw the planning for the rescue of US Embassy personnel in Iran taken hostage in Nov. 1979, surviving criticism for that rescue mission’s failure. During his 2nd term as Chairman, Jones worked to make the Chairman, rather than the corporate JCS, the principal military adviser to the President and the Secretary of Defense to improve the quality and timeliness of military advice and the combined readiness and effectiveness of combat forces and saw it come to fruition with the passage of the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act. Jones was the last Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to be decorated for service in WW II, Korea, and Vietnam.
TLS on 7 ¾ x 5 ¾ letterhead as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, February 26 1979, to Major General DeWitt C. Smith Jr., Commandant, Army War College. General Jones appreciates Smith’s invitation to address the National Security Seminar at the AWC but other commitments preclude his attending, hopes for another opportunity the next year.
DeWITT C. SMITH,JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. In 1942, he joined the US Army and commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. He was wounded 3 times and awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars for Valor, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged in 1946, he returned to active duty for the Korean War and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Gen. Maxwell Taylor, served in the “Old Guard” at Fort Myer, and was a battalion executive officer and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He commanded a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry Div. in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980.”