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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | March 24, 2011

Servicemembers reminded of courage, valor during building dedication

By Airman 1st Class Lindsey A. Beadle 11th Wing Public Affairs

The new William A. Jones III Building officially opened its doors here March 22 during a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony attended by several senior Air Force, civic and community leaders and approximately 400 base personnel.

Air Force leaders who took part in the ceremony included Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley; Robert Corsi, Jr., deputy administrative assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force; Maj. Gen. Darren McDew, Air Force District of Washington commander; and Col. Ken Rizer, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews commander. Other distinguished guests who participated included Rep. Steny Hoyer, 5th Congressional District of Maryland, and Elizabeth Jones and Anne Gilfillan, daughters of the building's namesake.

Built in accordance with the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, the new building enables the Air Force to comply with a BRAC mandate directing all U.S. government agencies occupying leased office space to relocate to a government-owned facility. Toward that end, the building will house more than 2,300 Air Force personnel from around Andrews and the National Capital Region.

The William A. Jones III Building, or Jones Building, is a state-of-the-art facility. A mostly "green" building, it sits atop 17 acres of Joint Base Andrews land and was constructed with 20 percent recycled material. The building has an energy-efficient rooftop, which recycles and treats storm water drainage, and also employs native agriculture in its landscaping, which promotes better soil irrigation. For these and other environmentally-conscious features, the building's design was awarded the U.S. Green Building Council's Elite Silver Certification.

"Air Force civil engineering maintenance teams and the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment were committed to delivering this 380,000 square foot building to Joint Base Andrews in less than two years," said Mr. Corsi. "In all, this building required the use of fast-track design and tireless construction methods."

The Jones Building is slated to have all government agencies completely moved in by the end of July. Total cost of the building was $182.6 million dollars, which took 19 months to complete.

The building is named after Medal of Honor recipient Col. William Jones III, a former air commando with the 602nd Special Operations Squadron and A-1 Sky Raider pilot during the Vietnam War. The dedication ceremony afforded an opportunity to highlight his heroic, selfless, and patriotic devotion to country.

During the Vietnam War, Colonel Jones successfully navigated his aircraft through a barrage of enemy fire in order to pinpoint the exact location of a fallen comrade. Despite injuries, Colonel Jones successfully piloted his plane back to base and conveyed the exact location of the downed servicemember, all prior to accepting medical attention. He was ultimately awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallant efforts that day, but unfortunately passed away before being receiving the distinction.

In his speech during the dedication ceremony, Secretary Donley hailed the aviator's selfless service and drew a comparison between Colonel Jones' gallant nature and that of the servicemembers who will soon occupy the building that bears his name.
"It is appropriate to dedicate this building in honor of a true American Airman," said Secretary Donley. "Today, we're reminded of Colonel Jones' valor, courage and sacrifice - all of which have come to be associated with an Airman who we aspire to be as Airmen. This building will house similar Airmen, as well as support Airmen in the field, particularly those servicemembers who are in harm's way... at this very moment."

Representative Hoyer also reflected on the patriotic reverence Colonel Jones had for his country, and wished for all servicemembers who will soon occupy the Jones building to do the same.

"This building bears Colonel Jones' name - he understood that you leave no brother behind. He knew that his flight over enemy territory put him at great risk," he said. "In doing so, Colonel Jones dedicated this building long before it was built. How proud we are that this building bears his name, on this base, which is so central to the United States Air Force."