Lawrence C. Jones
Electrician's Mate 2nd Class, USS ASTORIA 1944-45
E Division
Contributed by Brent Jones, webmaster of MIGHTY NINETY

Mighty Ninety plankowner Lawrence C. Jones as a Fireman 1st Class circa 1943.  His final rating of Electrician's Mate 2nd Class is at right.
-photos from Brent Jones collection

My interest in the Mighty Ninety, her crew, and experiences stems from a personal connection.  My great-uncle, Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Lawrence C. Jones, served aboard ASTORIA as a plankowner from her commissioning on 17 May 1944 until she returned to the US mainland following the surrender of Imperial Japan in September 1945.

Lawrence Jones working at Zilker stables in Austin, TX in 1936.
-from Brent Jones collection

Lawrence Jones behind the ice cream company he worked for in Austin in 1940.  The University of Texas tower is visible at top right.
-from Brent Jones collection

Uncle Lawrence was 30 years old and married when he was drafted in the summer of 1943.  He appeared for his induction in San Antonio and declared that he would prefer to serve in any branch of the military save one.  “Anything but the Navy!” he stated, according to his brother Ray (who served at the same time in the U.S. Coast Guard.)  Lawrence was promptly sent to Navy recruit training followed by Electrical School at the University of Minnesota.

Company 327, U.S. Navy boot camp circa September 1943.  Jones is in the second row from the top, second from left.
-from Brent Jones collection

Company 17, NTS (Electrical) at the University of Minnesota.  Jones attended Electrician's School from October 1943 through January 1944.  He is at center in the top row.
-from Brent Jones collection

Closeup of Lawrence Jones at center from his Electrical School photo.
-from Brent Jones collection

Jones transferred to the New York Navy Yard, where he worked for the next several months before reporting to the Philadelphia Navy Yard to join the crew of the new CLEVELAND-class light cruiser USS ASTORIA CL-90.  He reported aboard at commissioning on 17 May 1944.

One Trinidad and Tobago dollar kept by Jones following liberty at Port of Spain during the shakedown cruise of USS ASTORIA in June-July 1944.
-from Brent Jones collection

As his brother tells it, Uncle Lawrence “didn’t like the water, didn’t like to swim, didn't even like to take a bath.”  Yet from June 1944 through September 1945, he and his shipmates remained at sea, ever farther from the country they served and the families they fought for.

Jones at right with E Division shipmates from their division photo taken 29 June 1945 during a period of rest and repair at San Pedro, Leyte, Philippines.
-USS ASTORIA ship's photographer Herman Schnipper photo from Brent Jones collection

Jones with E Division shipmates at Clifton's Pacific Seas restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.  This photo was taken shortly after USS ASTORIA returned to the United States following the Japanese surrender in September 1945.  An E Division chief is at left.
-from Brent Jones collection

Jones was discharged from the U.S. Navy at Camp Wallace, TX on 21 November 1945.  This is the program cover for the separation service sailors attended before heading home from Camp Wallace to civilian life.  Note USS TEXAS BB-35 on the program.
-from Brent Jones collection

In December 1945, Jones and his shipmates received this letter from James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, thanking and congratulating them on a job well done.
-from Brent Jones collection

Lawrence Jones in civilian life, working for the City of Austin circa September 1959.
-from Brent Jones collection

Uncle Lawrence hoisting me up on my first birthday in September 1972.
-photo from Brent Jones collection

In February 1987, Uncle Lawrence traveled through the Panama Canal for the second time in his life.  The first time was aboard ASTORIA in wartime conditions; this time it was a pleasure cruise with his wife Carrington and family and friends.
-photo from Brent Jones collection

In later years my great-uncle didn't speak often of his time aboard ship, and he passed away in 1994.  I have since learned that he had stayed active in the Mighty Ninety association until he left us, and his name was among those read in memoriam at the final CL-90 reunion in 1996.

In 2007 I set out to research my uncle's experiences armed only with the knowledge of his name, rating, and ship assignment—not even his service number.  The Mighty Ninety website is the result of my ongoing research, and will continue to
grow as more individuals contribute.  My intent is to breathe life into a chapter of WWII US Navy history that time has obscured, as well as to honor the experiences of men at sea under circumstances that tested the strongest of wills.

Although this website focuses on USS ASTORIA CL-90, much information contained herein comes from the documentation of her sister CLEVELANDs in Cruiser Division 17: PASADENA CL-65,
, and WILKES-BARRE CL-103.  In many ways this is the collective story of four
cruisers and the sailors who lived aboard them.

To Uncle Lawrence and the men he served with, this historical account is respectfully dedicated.

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