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Nicole Summers, MMFN
Alexander, James Herbert, Jr., LT.
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Home Town Sioux City, IA
Last Address Sioux City, IA
Casualty Date Dec 03, 1943
Cause Hostile, Died
Reason Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Location North Atlantic Ocean
Conflict World War II
Location of Interment Memorial Park Cemetery - Sioux City, Iowa
Wall/Plot Coordinates Not Specified
Last Known Activity
On September 4, 1943, Lieutenant (jg) Alexander and crew were conducting an antisubmarine patrol over the Bay of Biscay when they were forced to ditch their flaming PB4Y-1 after an attack by six Ju 88s. One enemy aircraft was shot down during the combat and another damaged. Alexander and his crew safely exited the sinking bomber and reached the English shore in a life raft 36 hours later. Lieutenant (jg) Alexander was later awarded the Navy Cross for his action.
Later, on December 3, 1943, his plane was shot down and Lt Alexander did not survive. No details are known about this incident.
Service number: 257496
Awarded for actions during World War II
Battalion: Bombing Squadron 103 (VPB-103)
General orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 323 (February 1944)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant James Herbert Alexander, Jr. (NSN: 0-257496), United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Commander of a Navy PBY Patrol Plane in Patrol-Bombing Squadron ONE HUNDRED THREE (VPB-103), during action against enemy German forces over the Bay of Biscay, on 4 September 1943. While conducting a highly dangerous antisubmarine patrol, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Alexander, under a vicious attack by six twin-engined fighters, maneuvered the bomber with such precise skill that his gunners were able to shoot down one hostile craft and cripple three others. Although his own plane was set afire in the vigorous air battle, her flying instruments rendered inoperative and her four engines badly damaged, he nevertheless carried on, despite a painful head wound, until he had evaded the remainder of the enemy and effected a safe landing at sea. Successfully abandoning the big flying boat, he and his crew rode out a severe storm in a rubber life raft before reaching land two days later. Lieutenant Alexander's outstanding courage, daring airmanship and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.