On 14 December 1976, 2Lt. Philip R. Jones, Class of 1975, was killed in a T-38 aircraft accident near Enochs, TX. He is survived by his mother, Mrs. C. H. Jones, 1505 North Chrislo Drive, Minden, LA 71055.
As a cadet, Lt. Jones was a member of the 40th Cadet Squadron; he participated in the History and Photo Clubs and was on the Dean’s List four times.
Upon commissioning, Lt. Jones attended Indiana University and was subsequently assigned to the 64th Student Squadron at Reese AFB.
On 14 December 1976, 2nd Lieutenant Philip Randall Jones, a member of the US Air Force Academy Class of 1975, was killed in a T-38 mid-air aircraft accident near Enochs, Texas. Lt. Jones was a student pilot in a four-ship training ride and was scheduled to graduate from UPT three days after the accident. He was from Minden, Webster County, Louisiana. He was a 1971 honor graduate from Minden High School (MHS). He played basketball all four years while attending MHS.
As a cadet, Lt. Jones was a member of the 40th Cadet Squadron; he participated in the History and Photo Clubs and was on the Dean's List four times. Following graduation and commissioning from the Academy, Lt Jones received a master's degree in history from Indiana University in Indianapolis.
He was assigned to the 64th Student Squadron at Reese Air Force Base, near Lubbock, Texas where he was completing undergraduate pilot training at the time of his death.
Jones was flying in the front seat of Number 2 and collided with Lead during an element rejoin. Jones' body was discovered still strapped to his seat, which had been thrown some distance from the wreckage. Jones was piloting an Air Force T-38 Talon jet, which was also occupied by his instructor, First Lieutenant Robert Jones of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Robert Jones had ejected from the plane but was injured and hospitalized.
Jones was dead at the site of the impact, some 1.5 miles southwest of Enochs, Texas, near the Texas-New Mexico boundary. A Reese Air Force Base spokesman said that the two aircraft fell to earth about a mile apart. One plane burned on impact. The accident occurred at 12:53 CST. The pilot and the instructor who occupied the other T-38 as Lead of the four-ship ejected from their disabled aircraft and were not injured. Jones' body was flown to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls for an autopsy.
Jones was completing one of his last rides in the pilot training course and his class was scheduled to graduate on 17 December 1976. At the graduation, Jones would have been designated as one of his class's outstanding graduates and would have received the Air Training Command, Commander's Cup, which signifies his having achieved the highest grades in both academic and flight training programs. Instead, he was buried a day after his classmates received their pilot wings.
Jones had planned to be married in two weeks. After graduation, he would have remained at Reese AFB as first assignment instructor pilot. (Reese was among those bases closed in the 1990s as part of the recommendations of the Base Realignment And Closure Commission.)
He was preceded in death by his father, paternal grandmother and both grandfathers. Survivors included his mother, Rowena E. Jones (born 1929); two brothers, Mark Jones, then of Baton Rouge, and Gordon Jones, then of Minden; one sister, Tracy Jones, then of New Orleans, and his maternal grandmother, Rowena P. Grice (1896-1983) of Haynesville.
Services were held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 16, in the First United Methodist Church of Minden, with the Reverend Tracy Arnold officiating. Burial was in the Gardens of Memory under the direction or Rose-Neath Funeral Home.