S1c Willard Worth Jones,

Unknown Sailor

S1c Willard Worth Jones

Willard Worth Jones was born Sept. 29, 1917 in Hardin County, Tennessee near the border with Mississippi and Alabama. His father, Victor Jones, was a farmer, and his mother, Kate Martin Jones, a homemaker. They had seven children.

By the time of the spring 1940 Census the family lived in about 120 miles away in Obion County in the far northwest of the state. Worth or “Shorty” as he was known had completed two years at Woodland Mills High School, where he was a member of the 4-H club. After he left school, he farmed with his father. The family belonged to Salem Methodist Church.

Young Mr. Jones enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 4, 1940. He was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

His family had last received a letter and $50 from him on Nov. 27. It was a considerable sum for a young sailor. He promised to send more by the end of December. His mother told a reporter that “he was always thinking of us and his brothers and sisters, and he did everything he could for us.”

His older brother, Woodrow, served in the Army from May 1941 through July 1945. A younger brother, David, also served in the Army during the war.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4862 in Union City, Tennessee is named the Jones-Walker post in honor of Mr. Jones and another area man, Harry Walker, also killed at Pearl Harbor. The post was founded in November 1945.


Sources: The Jackson (Tennessee) Sun;  the Union City (Tennessee) Daily Messenger; VFW Post 4862; Census; Navy muster roll; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs death file; family obituaries. The photo hangs at the VFW. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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