James Everett Vose was born in Manville, Rhode Island, on 18 June 1912. He entered the US Naval Academy from the Second Rhode Island District on 10 July 1930, and was graduated and commissioned Ensign on 1 June 1934. Through subsequent promotions he attained the rank of Captain, his date of rank 1 July 1953.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1934, he was assigned to USS Detroit, flagship of Destroyers, Battle Force, in which he served until April 1937. From June of that year until September 1939 he served on Asiatic Station, with duty aboard USS Bulmer, a unit of Destroyer Division 14, Squadron 5, Asiatic Fleet. Upon his return to the United States, he was ordered to USS New Mexico operating with Battleship Division 3, Battle Force, remaining aboard that battleship from 30 October 1939 until 1 February 1940.
He had flight training at the Naval Air Stations, Pensacola and Miami, Florida, and designated Naval Aviator in November 1940, was assigned to Scouting Squadron 6, based on USS Enterprise. Detached on 4 September 1941, he assisted in fitting out Bombing Squadron 8, at the Fleet Air Detachment Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia. He reported as Commanding Officer upon that squadron’s commissioning date, 2 September 1941, and later that month his squadron joined USS Hornet, on which it was based during the early period of World War II. For service first as a pilot, and later as Commanding Officer of Bombing Squadron 8, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and Navy Cross. The citations follow in part:
Distinguished Flying Cross: “For meritorious achievement in aerial flight as a pilot in Bombing Squadron 8 in the Battle of Midway. On June 6 he participated in bombing and strafing of fleeing enemy forces. In the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire he courageously, without regard for his own safety, attacked the enemy, contributing to their merciless destruction and to the victory achieved by our forces…”
Air Medal: “For meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight as Squadron Commander and pilot of a scout-bomber airplane during a raid on enemy Japanese forces in the Guadalcanal and Rekata Bay Area on October 16, 1942…Lieutenant Vose led his division in a bold and determined attack which resulted in the destruction of twelve Japanese float seaplanes and enemy shore installations consisting of gasoline dumps, gun emplacements and other shore facilities…”
Navy Cross: “For extraordinary heroism and courage as Commanding Officer of a Squadron of Scout Bombers of the USS HORNET Air Group during action against enemy Japanese forces near Santa Cruz Islands, October 26, 1942. Combating heavy fighter opposition…(he) led his squadron in a determined and aggressive attack in which he personally scored a direct bomb hit on a large Japanese carrier. His inspiring leadership, skill and tenacity in a critical situation contributed in a large measure to the extremely heavy damage inflicted upon the enemy.”
The Hornet was sunk at Santa Cruz on 26 October 1942, and he was sent to Fleet Air Alameda, California, in December of that year, to fit out another squadron. On 23 January 1943 he assumed command of Scouting Squadron 17, later redesignated Bombing Squadron 17. For heroism in that command in the Pacific Area, he was awarded Gold Stars in lieu of the Second and Third Distinguished Flying Cross, and a Gold Star in lieu of the Second Air Medal. The citations follow in brief:
Gold Star in lieu of Second Air Medal: “For meritorious achievement in aerial flight as Pilot of a Dive Bomber and as Commanding Officer of Bombing Squadron SEVENTEEN, from November 18 to 23, 1943. Executing four highly successful bombing attacks upon the island of Bititu, Tarawa Atoll in the face of heavy antiaircraft fire, (he) personally scored hits which resulted in extensive damage to numerous enemy gun installations…”
Gold Star in lieu of Third Distinguished Flying Cross: “…as Pilot of a Dive Bomber and Commander of Bombing Squadron SEVENTEEN, operating from the USS BUNKER HILL, during action against enemy Japanese forces on New Ireland in the Solomon Islands, from December 25, 1943 to January 5, 1944. Gallantly leading his squadron against eight enemy combatant ships and several supply vessels in Kavieng Harbor, Commander (then Lieutenant Commander) Vose defied intense antiaircraft fire and…contributed to the success of his flight in sinking one destroyer, two large cargo ships and three barges and severely damaging two cruisers, four destroyers and several small cargo ships…”
On 6 February 1944 he reported to the Navy Department, Washington, DC, for duty in the Engineering Division, Armament Branch of the Bureau of Aeronautics. He remained on duty there throughout the latter period of the war and until March 1946 when he joined USS Antietam as Air Officer. In August of the next year he became Operations Officer on the Staff of Commander Carrier Division ONE, serving in that capacity for a year before returning to shore duty.
After a two year assignment at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, he reported in July 1950 for duty on the Staff of Commander Air Force, Pacific, at Headquarters in San Diego, California. In August 1953 he assumed command of the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Sanford, Florida, and in June 1955 was assigned to the Joint Staff of the Commander in Chief, Alaskan Command.
From October 1956 to September 1957 he was in command of the Naval Air Station, Oakland, California, after which he commanded USS Boxer (CVS-21). In October 1958 he reported as Chief of Staff and Aide to the Chief of Naval Air Training at Headquarters, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, and in January 1961 assumed command of the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland. In November 1962 he was ordered to duty in the Sixth Naval District, with headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina.
In addition to the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Gold Stars, and the Air Medal with Gold Star, Captain Vose had the China Service Medal; the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal.