David W. Jones

1948 - 1969

Vietnam War

Their Story

David W. Jones was born on December 4, 1948, in Iowa City, Iowa,1 to Doris Ann Coffey.2 He grew up in Davenport, graduating from Assumption High School in 1967. On March 28, 1969, Jones entered the U.S. Army to serve in the Vietnam War, at the rank of Private First Class (PFC). At the time, he had been employed with James Grothus Contractors in Davenport.3

In August, he was sent to Vietnam,4 where he served as a rifleman for the 199th Light Infantry Brigade.5 The 199th Infantry performed counterinsurgency operations, earning the nickname, “Redcatchers.” This nickname reflected the brigade’s main mission, which was to locate communist groups throughout the region.6 Within the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, Jones was stationed with Company D, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry.7

On the night of December 20, 1969, Jones´position was hit with artillery fire. Jones was serving as a radio telephone operator, and immediately after the attack began, he radioed his commander and warned his fellow soldiers to take cover. Jones then jumped on a soldier near him, shielding him from the artillery fire, saving the soldier’s life.8 Unfortunately, Jones was fatally wounded.

Newspapers at the time reported that Jones was killed in combat;9 more recent sources identify the cause of Jones’ death, more specifically, to be friendly fire.10 The Combat Area Casualties Database (CACDB), identified Jones’ cause of death to be “non-hostile,” and the reason is recorded as “other accident.”11 Unfortunately, friendly fire incidents were not uncommon during the Vietnam War because there were no designated enemy lines. Additionally, the dense terrain of Vietnam made it very difficult to identify the enemy, sometimes leading to friendly fire incidents.12

PFC Jones was interred at the Rock Island National Cemetery in Rock Island, Illinois, on December 30, 1969. In May of 1970, the Bronze star medal was posthumously awarded to PFC Jones. His mother was given the medal at a ceremony held at the Rock Island Arsenal.13 A couple months later, another ceremony was held at the Rock Island Arsenal, where Jones was posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal. Jones was awarded the Silver Star for “gallantry in action,” for his heroic actions on the night he was killed. The Silver Star and a Purple Heart were presented to Jones’ mother during the ceremony.14


1“Davenport GI Dies in Viet,” Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa.

2“David Williams Jones: 1948-1969,” Ancestry, n.d., David Williams Jones – Facts (ancestry.com), accessed 21 October 2022.

3“Davenport GI Dies in Viet,” Quad City Times, 22 December 1969, p.1.

4“Davenport GI Dies in Viet,” Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa, 22 December 1969, p.1, 22 Dec 1969, 1 – Quad-City Times at Newspapers.com

5Linda Bruggeman, “In Service,” Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa, p.12,. 23 Sep 1969, 12 – Quad-City Times at Newspapers.com

6Patrick Feng, “The 199th Infantry Brigade,” n.d., The 199th Infantry Brigade – The Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army (armyhistory.org), accessed 21 October 2022.

7PFC David William Jones,” Find a Grave, n.d., PFC David William Jones (1948-1969) – Find a Grave Memorial, accessed 22 October 2022.

8¨Mom Gets Son´s Silver Star Posthumously, ¨The Dispatch, Moline, Illinois, 4 August 1970, p.24, 04 Aug 1970, 24 – The Dispatch at Newspapers.com

9“Davenport GI Dies in Viet,” The Quad City Times, Davenport.

10PFC David William Jones,” Find a Grave.

11“Combat Area Casualties Current File, 6/8/1956-1/21/1998,” National Archives, n.d., NARA – AAD – Display Full Records – Combat Area Casualties Current File, 6/8/1956 – 1/21/1998 (archives.gov), accessed 5 November 2022.

“Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs),” National Archives, n.d., Records on Military Personnel Who Died, Were Missing in Action or Prisoners of War as a Result of the Vietnam War FAQs (archives.gov), accessed 5 November 2022.

12Jerry Prater, “Friendly Fire,” n.d., Friendly Fire (vnwarstories.com)

13“Slain Soldier’s Mother Accepts Bronze Star,” The Rock Island Argus, Rock Island, Illinois, 2 May 1970, p.18, 02 May 1970, 18 – The Rock Island Argus at Newspapers.com

14¨Mom Gets Son´s Silver Star Posthumously, ¨The Dispatch, Moline, Illinois.