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John James Van Buren
Born (1915-07-20)July 20, 1915
Died June 4, 1942(1942-06-04) (aged 26)
Place of birth Mukwonago, Wisconsin
Place of death Pacific Ocean, near Midway Atoll
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Naval Reserve
Years of service 1938–1942
Rank Lieutenant, junior grade
Unit Bombing Squadron 6
Battles/wars World War II
*1942 raid on Marshall Islands
*Battle of Midway
Awards Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross

John J. Van Buren (1915–1942) was a United States Navy officer who received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Navy Cross for his actions in combat during World War II.

Naval careerEdit

John James Van Buren was born in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, on July 20, 1915. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on March 24, 1938 and was appointed Aviation Cadet in the United States Naval Reserve on August 3, 1938. Upon completion of flight training, he was commissioned as an ensign on September 1, 1939 and assigned to Bombing Squadron 6 on board the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6).

During World War II, Van Buren was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on March 11, 1942 for heroic conduct in aerial combat during operations against the Japanese in the Marshall Islands when the formation he was flying in was attacked by Japanese fighters. Through skillful handling of his Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber and excellent marksmanship, he shot down one of the attacking planes. Upon again being attacked by an enemy fighter, he maneuvered his plane to permit his rear seat gunner to shoot down this attacker before landing his bullet-riddled plane on Enterprise.

Operating off of Enterprise with Bombing Squadron 6 during the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942, Van Buren defied extreme danger from concentrated Japanese antiaircraft fire and fierce fighter opposition to take part in the initial dive-bombing attack against Japanese naval units. Van Buren's plane did not return from this action and was listed as presumed dead. Lieutenant, junior grade Van Buren received the Navy Cross for his bravery at Midway.


The U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS John J. Van Burean (DE-753), launched in 1944 but never completed, was named for Lieutenant, junior grade Van Buren.


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