John Clarence Butler

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For other people named John Butler, see John Butler (disambiguation).
John Clarence Butler
Born (1921-02-02)February 2, 1921
Liberty, Arizona
Died June 4, 1942(1942-06-04) (aged 21)
KIA near Midway Island
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1941-1942
Rank Ensign
Battles/wars World War II
*Battle of Midway
Awards Navy Cross

John Clarence Butler (2 February 1921 - 4 June 1942) was a United States Navy officer and Naval aviator who was killed in action in the World War II Battle of Midway. He was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.

Butler was born at Liberty, Arizona, 2 February 1921, and enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve 19 February 1941. He was appointed an Aviation Cadet on 3 April; and, after flight training, he reported to Bombing Squadron 3 on board aircraft carrier Yorktown (CV-5).

In the epochal Battle of Midway 4 June 1942, Butler and his squadron attacked a Japanese carrier group and despite heavy opposition succeeded in sinking three of the vital enemy flattops. His plane, however, did not return.

For his part in this gallant attack, which did much to turn the tide of the Pacific War, Ens. Butler was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously. In part the citation noted: "His gallant intrepidity and loyal devotion to the accomplishment of a vastly important objective contributed in large measure to the success achieved by our forces and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."


In 1943, the destroyer escort USS John C. Butler (DE-339) was named in his honor.

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This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
  • USS John C. Butler, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy.