James C. Owens Jr.

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James C. Owens Jr. (5 December 1910 in Batavia, New York – 4 June 1942 [1]), he was a naval aviator. He was appointed Naval Aviation Cadet, USNR, 3 September 1935.

Following flight training at Pensacola, Florida, he served on board Lexington (CV-2); and on 1 September 1941, he joined Torpedo Squadron 8 on board Hornet (CV-8). Appointed Lieutenant 6 January 1942, Owens was the squadron Executive Officer and led the second division of TBD Devastator torpedo bombers when it pressed home a courageous and determined attack against Japanese carriers on 4 June during the Battle of Midway. Without the protection of fighters or accompanying dive bombers, the pilots exposed themselves to overwhelming firepower; and every plane of the squadron was shot down. By forcing the enemy ships to maneuver radically, thereby delaying Japanese preparations for a second strike, the "stark courage and relentless drive" of the torpedo pilots, such as Lieutenant Owens, made possible the American victory that followed. For extraordinary heroism in the face of overwhelming danger, Lt. Owens received the Navy Cross and the Presidential Unit Citation (US) posthumously.


The USS James C. Owens (DD-776) was named in his honor.


  1. "Lt James Charles "Jimmy" Owens Jr". Findagrave. Retrieved 21 January 2021.

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