Frank Jones was a rescue firefighter in the Air Force

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, December 27, 2006

By Staff
Senior Living
(This week The Atmore Advance spotlights Frank Jones. He is 74 years o old.)
Q: When and where were you born?
A: I was born on March 4, 1932 in Marks, Miss. at home. A midwife delivered.
Q: Who were your parents?
A: My father was Roland Jones. He was from Arkansas. My mother Dora Jones from Marks.
Q: Did you have any brothers or sisters?
A: There were 12 of us in all. My mother had six boys and six girls.
There are three of us boys still living. One lives in Old Hickory, Tenn., and the other lives in Kansas City, Ks.
I have three sisters still living. They live in Memphis, St. Louis, and Champagne, Ill.
I love it because I get to visit them all. I just make a circle.
We get together three times a year in Nashville. That is the closet point for everyone to meet up.
Q: Where did you attend school?
A: I went to a little red country school in Quitman County.
I went from the first grade through the fifth grade.
Noon, or lunch time was my favorite time of day. They served us lunch at that time. It was always a hot meal.
I just loved geography. That was my favorite. You could learn about different parts of the country and I always dreamed about traveling.
In the sixth grade I went to a different school in Marks. I graduated from it in 1951.
I started working when I was 16 at a cotton seed mill from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. I worked the press so I was able to study and do homework in between the press.
We were living in the country in what I called a year round air conditioned home. You could see cracks all around. We used to stuff the cracks with newspapers and Sears and Roebuck's catalogs.
After working for two years at the cotton press, I paid to have a house built for my parents in town.
It cost $2500 for a two bedroom, living room, kitchen/dining room and one bathroom.
My baby brother and sister were still living them as well as myself.
My mother was so excited.
Q: How did you travel when you were younger?
A: From first to fifth grade I walked four miles to school one way each day.
Four of us were going at the same time. Never got in any trouble because it was usually too cold and we just wanted to get to school.
Most of the time I would get the fire going in the school to warm up the room for the rest of the children.
My daddy had two mules and a wagon. My daddy did a little farming at the time.
My first vehicle was 1956 Mercury Montclair. It was gold and white. I was about 22 and was in the service in Missouri and paid $600 for it. It was five years old at the time.
Q: Did you work after you got out of school?
A: I worked at the cotton mill until I was 19. I was then drafted into the army.
I went to Camp Shelby, Miss. and stayed there for six weeks and then got to come home for six months to wait for an assignment. My job at the cotton mill was gone and one of buddies came home from the Air Force and I liked his uniform. So me and one of my friends decided to join the Air Force.
We went to three weeks training for the Air Force and then got a notice from the army to report for training but it was too late then.
We trained in San Antonio at Lackland AFB and then we were sent to Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Miss.
I was trained in air crash rescue for three months. Then I was shipped to England in February of 1953.
I worked on a flight line as a crash rescue firefighter for three years.
After that I came back to Maxwell AFB in Montgomery from 1956 until 1961. I reenlisted there for six years.
I loved the Air Force and I loved my job.
From there I went Schnook AFB in Illinois and then transferred to Jimmy Doolittle AFB in Columbus, Ohio.
At that point I served in
Vietnam for a year as a crash rescue firefighter.
Some of the things I used to not talk about it because of the awful things I saw.
People who were not there have no idea of what went on there. You had to be there to understand.
I then went to Whitemen AFB in Missouri for six years and then went back to England and carried my wife and three boys with me that time.
I went to college for two years in Missouri while I was in the Air Force. My boys were in grammar school and started bringing home that A to Z math that I didn't understand so I went back to school. I got an Associate of Arts degree.
I knew a lot of the pilots from my job, so on the weekends we could hop all over. We went to just about every European country while were there.
After three years in England, I came back to Moody AFB in Georgia and retired in 1975 after serving 23 years.
A year after leaving the service, my wife decided that she didn't want to be married anymore and we divorced. We are still friends, however.
After I retired, I worked with the schools in Montgomery and then got a job working at Fountain Prison in Atmore in 1978.
I retired in 1992 after working there for 15 years.
Q: Did you ever marry?
A: My first wife was Mamie Jackson from Montgomery. We were married in 1961 for 19 years before she divorced me.
When I moved to Atmore I m met my present wife Rosie Robinson.
We met through a mutual friend and got married Aug. 1, 1981.
We have been married for 25 years this past August. Those have been some very happy years too.
Q: Do you have any children or grandchildren?
A: My first wife and I had three boys. The oldest one lives in Clearwater, Fla., next to the oldest lives in Montgomery and the baby boy lives in Atmore.
My wife, Rosie has one son who lives in Walnut Hill, Fla. He is just like my own son. I raised him . He had just turned a teenager when we got married.
I have eight grandchildren. We see them often. I love my grandchildren. They keep me young.
Q.Where do you attend church?
A. I have been a member of Greater Mt. Triumph Missionary Baptist Church.
I am on the Board of Trustees. In other churches I used to be a Sunday school teacher and usher while in the service.
Everywhere I went in the Air Force I joined a church.
Q: What keeps you busy these days?
A: I serve as the president of Concerned Citizens of Atmore, and the PCRC and the VFW.
I carry people to different places they need to go. My wife and I try to help out people who are not able to do things for themselves.
I love to fish and garden. It doesn't matter what kind. I have done deep sea fishing and fresh water.
Before the storm tore the bridge up over Pensacola Bay I used to go two nights a week and spend the night fishing.
I carry my vegetables and fish around and give to friends
Q. Have you traveled much?
A. Yes, but not as much as used to . We used to lave here and make our rounds to visit my brothers nd sisters. My wife loves to go to Tennessee. Her favorite brother-in-law is the one who lives in Old Hickory, Tenn.
Q. What's your favorite television show?
A. "Law and Order." I love to watch westerns and sports. I don't want anybody disturbing me during "Monday Night Football." The Pittsburgh Steelers are my favorite team. My favorite college team is Auburn.
Q.What advice do you give people to stay healthy?
A: Stay busy and don't indulge in too much alcohol. Live life to the fullest.
(If you would like to recommend a senior to be spotlighted please contact Janet Little Cooper at 368-2123 or e-mail her at

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