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Neile's Hometown Heroes: WWII veteran reflects on service as Navy honors his crew

World War II Veteran David Jones says, "We've got the greatest country in the world right here if people only realized it (KTUL)."

World War II Veteran David Jones loves his country today just as much, if not more, than he did when he was a kid.

"We've got the greatest country in the world right here, if people only realized it," Jones said.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Jones lied about his age and joined the Navy when he was 17 years old.

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"That was terrible in my mind that they could do what they did to us the way that they did it," he said.

After boot camp, he landed on the U.S.S. Colorado, serving in the commissary and helping his crew battle toward victory.

"Marshall and Gilbert is the first island that we were on," Jones said. "That's the Marshall and Gilbert Island Tarawa, Kwajalein, Eniwetok... took all three of them islands. That's three of our battle stars there."

But they weren't done.

"Then we went to the Mariana group -- Guam, Saipan, Tinian -- and that's where we got all shot up and lost all of our people that manned the guns by the suicide planes coming in, and by the shore battery from Tinian where they hit us over 20 times, direct times," Jones said.

Eventually, the crew would head to Okinawa. Jones said they stayed awake for more than 70 hours straight while under pressure before moving into Tokyo Bay.

Numerous battle stars later, there's no mistaking the role the U.S.S. Colorado and her crew played in World War II before being decommissioned in 1947.

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"We slept by one another, we died with one another," Jones said. "We were there to do the job. The Navy had us there to make sure that we done the thing that we had to do to win the war."

And now, at age 94, he lights up as he talks about a new submarine and a special tribute from the Navy, The sub will be called the Colorado and will soon begin its journey by paying respects to its namesake.

For Jones, it's a heartwarming tribute.

"By them building the submarine SSN 788 in honor of our crew and my ship now, that is really an honor," he said. "Makes me feel like we done a good job. Anytime they can give credit to the people that I served with aboard the ship is the most important thing that I'm proud of."

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