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Edward A. "Hillbilly" Jones
Hillbilly
Hillbilly in Peleliu

Actor

Leon Ford

Rank

Lieutenant

Battles

Guadalcanal Campaign

Battle of Cape Glouceser

Battle of Peleliu

Status

KIA, Peleliu

1st Lt. Edward A. "Hillbilly" Jones was an officer that served as an aide to Capt. Andrew "Ack Ack" Haldane in the series. His nickname comes from his thick southern accent.

History and DescriptionEdit

Early lifeEdit

Jones was born in 1917.[1]

Hillbilly's early history is never explained in the series. In the book written by Eugene Sledge however, it is said that he hailed from West Virginia. However, it was later cited in R.V. Burgin's memoir "Islands of the Damned" (published in 2010 to coincide with the HBO miniseries), that Jones was actually from Red Lion, Pennsylvania.

GuadalcanalEdit

It is known, however, that he was given a battlefield commission on Guadalcanal. Who gave him the commission is not specified in Sledge's book. In the series Hillbilly said Capt. Haldane gave it to him (in reality an officer doesn't "get one" for the person, they put in an request to a higher ranking officer (usually a colonel, who then approves it.) However, when enlisted soldiers are given commissions, it is very uncommon they stay with their original unit, due to the fact the men will still see them as an enlisted man, not an officer. So it is unlikely that Capt. Haldane got him the commission, because he would have been transferred to another unit.

PavuvuEdit

Haldane and Hillbilly-Pavuvu

Hillbilly and Haldane talking to two marines on Pavuvu

Hillbilly was with Haldane when the former spotted Eugene Sledge and Sidney Phillips apparently fighting. When it was explained that they were best friends, Haldane and Hillbilly let them off the hook.

PeleliuEdit

Hillbilly was part of the landing on Peleliu. When the Marines fought through the airfield, he commanded the mortarmen, including Sledge, to lay waste to some Japanese soldiers in a burning building with their mortars. Hillbilly is next seen that night as he listens to Haldane console Sledge during his time of recovery from the airfield assault.

Later, Hillbilly was given temporary command of the unit when Haldane was trying to get his orders changed. That night, all the Marines' attention is shifted towards one of their own flailing and screaming apparently from a nightmare. Hillbilly, Burgin, and two others attempt to hold the man down so a corpsman can stick him with morphine but cannot hold him down. Hillbilly eventually has no choice but to fatally hit the Marine's head with an entrenching shovel. Haldane consoles him by saying that Hillbilly did what he needed to do.

Bloody Nose RidgeEdit

Hillbilly-Dead

Hillbilly dead

After a short break, Hillbilly's unit went to become part of the Bloody Nose Ridge battle. It is here that Hillbilly is wounded by an explosion. He survives it and is relatively fine until, while he was being carried by a stretcher, he is fatally shot in the chest, traumatizing Gunny Haney, and costing the unit one more good officer. Haldane's death would follow some time after.

He was buried in Slate Ridge Cemetery, in York County, Pennsylvania.[2]

Personality and TraitsEdit

He was described by R.V. Burgin as a "strict, by-the-book-officer during duty hours, and a down-to-earth good guy who visited the men in their tents carrying his guitar during off duty." Burgin also recalls that Hillbilly probably served 4-8 years as a "Sea Going Marine" (Marines who served aboard battleships, cruisers and the like). Hillbilly was actually the K Co. Machine Gun Platoon Leader, who spent several pre-war years as an enlisted man. He was given a commision following Guadalcanal. He never told anyone the details of surrounding his commision, however word around his men say that he was outstanding in that campaign. Hillbilly was "born a gentleman", as Sledge puts it. He always had a clean, fresh appearance in contrast with his men, even though they did relatively the same thing. His accent, however, was more of a Deep South one than that of the hill country. Sledge also describes him as an officer that was friendly yet not too familiar with the men, and also possessing qualities of bravery, leadership, ability, integrity, and compassion. The only other officer to equal these qualities was Capt. Haldane.

TriviaEdit

  • HIllbilly was killed in the same region of Peleliu as Haldane, just some time prior.
  • In reality, Hillbilly was was killed while trying to get rid of snipers with a sherman tank. he was shot and fell off the tank. As men rushed with strechers to save him, Jones tried to get back up on the tank but was killed instanly. He was posthumusly awarded a silver star.
  • Also in reality, Hillbilly didn't hit screaming marine with a entrenching tool; the Marines who witnessed this, agreed to NEVER reveal who amongst them struck the fatal blow.  R.V. Burgin and Eugene Sledge both saw who did it but they refused to tell anyone; Jones told Haldane that "what was done, HAD to be done".

See AlsoEdit

Andrew Haldane

Eugene Sledge

1st Marine Division

ReferencesEdit

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