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The National Park Service has designated 11 additional cities/environs as World War II Heritage Cities, bringing the total to Wilmington – the first designee – and twenty-nine others.

On September 2, 2020, at the Battleship North Carolina, President Donald Trump announced Wilmington’s designation. This culminated a 12-1/2 year project, conceived, organized, and led by Wilmington to establish a national history preservation program.

“Look what Wilmington started!” said historian and retired Navy captain Wilbur Jones, a heavy participant.

“I’m extremely proud of our accomplishment. It’s so encouraging to see cities interested in submitting their qualifications to the NPS.”

Those qualification criteria, developed by Wilmington, were: what did a city do for the war effort; and how has a city preserved that legacy? Only one city/environ per state can be designated.

“So, twenty more states to go,” added Jones, who chairs the project catalyst World War II Wilmington Home Front Heritage Coalition, an all-volunteer 501c3 preservation organization.

The president in March 2019 signed legislation creating the program. U.S. Senator Thom Tillis and Congressman David Rouzer sponsored the legislation and for years led the congressional effort.

The eleven additional cities/environs are:

  • Foley, Alabama
  • Tempe, Arizona
  • Richmond, California
  • Wilmington, Delaware
  • Waterloo, Iowa
  • Baltimore County, Maryland
  • Johnson County and Warrensburg, Missouri
  • Hastings, Nebraska
  • Boulder City and Henderson, Nevada
  • Yonkers, New York
  • Bedford County, Virginia


Wilbur Jones was recently profiled for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. Click the button below to read the full article.


Wilbur D. Jones, Jr., has collaborated with Al Cooke to produce an epic World War II account of a man defeating poverty, battle, imprisonment, and postwar POW depression.

The book, Jones’s 20th and eighth on WWII, is Terrorfliegers: How WWII American Airmen Survived German Captivity and POW Trauma.

Cooke, a first-time author, in late 2021 approached Jones with a draft manuscript about his father Roland’s service as a B-24 Liberator bomber crewman, assistance. The solid story was there, told with warmth and insight as only a son could. Jones edited and formatted the work, adding professional touches and supplementary facts.

Roland was shot down over Germany, made his only parachute jump (successful), endured 15 months in four stalags, and later recovered.

The story describes how downed American airmen – nicknamed by the Germans “Terrorfliegers” (terrorist fliers) – stuck together in ungodly conditions, fought constant boredom, inactivity, and hard times, yearning for Red Cross packages and delayed mail from home.

The work includes numerous letters between Roland and his impoverished family in rural Eastern North Carolina as examples of both home front and stalag culture and existence.

Jones was privileged and proud to collaborate with Al Cooke on this book.

Jones Receives Marquis Who’sWho Lifetime Achievement Award

WILMINGTON, NC, July 5, 2023. Marquis Who’sWho, the world’s premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Wilbur D. Jones Jr. with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, and listing in the Marquis Who’sWho 2023 edition.

An accomplished listee, Mr. Jones celebrates many years’ experience in his professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field.

As in all Marquis Who’sWho biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

Mr. Jones, of Wilmington, North Carolina, is a retired Navy captain with 41 years of service to the Department of Defense, a noted business owner, military historian, and award-winning author who established Wilbur Jones Compositions LLC in 1988. Well-known nationwide for his expertise, he writes, lectures, and consults on various World War II history and defense issues. Additionally, Mr. Jones leads several North Carolina WWII history preservation projects.

Jones Memoir Published

Native North Carolinian and UNC graduate Captain Wilbur Jones grew up in World War II Wilmington, incubating a lifelong devotion to country, the military, and history, launching rewarding careers in the Navy and federal service…assisting Presidents Nixon and Ford and 2 Congressmen…sports officiating…writing and speaking…and preserving WWII history. This lively, colorful, entertaining book about a multi-dimensional working-life’s journey informs through character vignettes, storytelling, and lesser-known facts (inside the 1972 and 1976 presidential campaigns, and advancing Ford’s trips).

Wilbur Jones receives Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award

In a ceremony at Wilmington’s City Hall, Mayor Bill Saffo, on behalf of Governor Roy Cooper,  presented the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine award to retired Navy Captain Wilbur D. Jones, Jr.

The Long Leaf Pine award is the North Carolina governor’s highest honor recognizing public service. The award is given to persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments.

UNCW Recognizes Jones as Distinguished Citizen of the Year

Four individuals will receive the highest honor the University of North Carolina Wilmington bestows upon its graduates and supporters during Homecoming 2021. The UNCW Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Awards recognize extraordinary achievement, outstanding character and exemplary service to the university and community.

UNCW named author and military historian Wilbur D. Jones, Jr., as the Distinguished Citizen of the Year for 2021. Jones, a retired Navy captain, Wilmington native and University of North Carolina graduate, was selected for his support of UNCW and community service.

They will be recognized during the university’s virtual Homecoming celebration Feb. 8-14. New this year is the Distinguished Diversity Award, which honors an individual who has made exceptional contributions in the areas of diversity, equity, access, inclusion and social justice.


The Alumni Organization of Wilmington’s New Hanover High School named Wilbur Jones as one of the school’s Outstanding Alumni at Centennial

Jones graduated from New Hanover in 1951. The school, which opened in 1922, celebrated its Centennial year with activities in 2022.

As the First World War II Heritage City, Wilmington Started a Nationwide Trend

New Hanover County Salutes World War II Heritage City designation with Captain Jones Presentation

On September 2, 2020, the City of Wilmington in New Hanover County was named the first American WWII Heritage City in the country. Hear from Wilbur Jones about the process to receive this designation, the importance of preservation, and what it means for our region. WATCH VIDEO

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Jones Helps Host Sir Ben Kingsley

On October 21, CAPT Wilbur Jones participated with Battleship North Carolina Memorial executive director CAPT Terry Bragg and wife Phoebe…