John P. Gray
|John Porter Gray|
December 22, 1914|
Kansas City, Missouri
|Died||June 4, 1942
Pacific Ocean, near Midway Atoll
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Naval Reserve|
|Years of service||1939–1942|
|Rank||Lieutenant, junior grade|
|Unit||Several naval air stations
Torpedo Squadron 2
Torpedo Squadron 8
|Battles/wars||World War II
*Battle of Midway
Presidential Unit Citation
John Porter Gray was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on 22 December 1914. He enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve on 12 October 1939, was appointed Aviation Cadet in 1940, and underwent flight training, and was commissioned as an ensign. Gray then served at several naval air stations before reporting to Torpedo Squadron 2 in October 1940. He later transferred for temporary duty to Torpedo Squadron 8 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8), and reached the rank of lieutenant, junior grade.
As a Douglas TBD-1 Devastator torpedo bomber pilot in Torpedo Squadron 8, Gray took part in the pivotal Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. Gray and the rest of the squadron gallantly attacked the Japanese aircraft carriers without fighter cover and in the face of withering antiaircraft fire and heavy Japanese fighter opposition. Though all of Torpedo Squadron 8's aircraft were shot down, they succeeded in diverting Japanese fighter cover and preventing further launches of Japanese carrier aircraft, thus contributing mightily to the United States Navy's victory in the battle. Gray was killed during the attack.
Gray was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for his heroism, and shared in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to Torpedo Squadron Eight for its actions in the Battle of Midway.
The U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS John P. Gray (DE-673) was named for Gray. She was converted during construction into the high-speed transport USS John P. Gray (APD-74) and was in commission as such from 1945 to 1946.