Howard G. "Buck" Boren Jr.

Buck during WWII. This signed photo was probably attached to a letter to John McPhee

Buck (1921-1945) was a camper in the 1930s and a tent leader in the 1940s. He ran the boating program in 1941 and 1942. From Hubbard, He spent a total of 14 years at camp as a camper and and leader. He is in the front row, 5th from the left in the 1942 staff photo. He is notorious for flying an airplane low over camp without the consent of and to the annoyance of Assistant Camp Director David M. Williams on multiple occasions. He mastered the art of Needling to the amusement of tent leaders and directors; and there was no better cure for homesickness in the early 1940's than Buck taking a camper boating.[1]

He was born in Hubbard on May 17, 1921. His father, Howard G. Boren, was Superintendent of Hubbard Schools. He attended Washington and Jefferson College where he majored in Chemistry. He entered the armed services during the fall of 1942 as an Officer in the Army Air Corps. His father served in the Air Crops during World War I. Buck trained in Chapel Hill, NC and Boston, MA, before earning his wings in Pensacola, FL.[2] He spent a year in the South Pacific, where he earned the Navy Cross for sinking a Japanese Destroyer despite severe damage to his own plane[3] and then successfully returned and landed this airplane on his carrier, despite the fact the plane was now on fire. He was sent back to the US to train other pilots. Tragically, he was killed in a plane crash on March 9, 1945 during a training exercise near Bradford, Rhode Island.[2] His mother donated an organ for the new YMCA chapel in his memory in 1953.[4]


Buck was a camper in 1933. He attended the third 2 week session, starting Aug 6th, with 24 other boys, mostly from Warren, Hubbard and Poland:

Others that worked along side Buck in included:

Staff 1942

1st (Top) Row: (unknown), Bobby McFarland, (unknown), (unknown), (unknown), Popeye Richards, Skip Rebelle, (unknown), (unknown), Bob Beede, Dick Beede
2nd Row: unknown, help us identify them!
3rd Row: Clare Reese, Dave Fawcett, Fred Soller, (unknown), (unknown), Howdy Friend, Robert "Bob" Gibson, Larry Goodall, Eddy Ocarz
4th Row: unknown, help us identify them!
5th Row (Front): (unknown), (unknown), (unknown), (unknown), Buck Boren, (unknown), Edwin K. Enterline, John Ross "Jack" McPhee, (unknown), (unknown), Eddy Ohl, Karl Soller
Definitely in this picture, but not identified are: Hal Davis, Hall Burg, George Hunter, Hank Beckenbaugh, Antin Darfmueller, and Red Kerster. Please help the Camp Fitch Bunch by pointing out who they are!
(Photo courtesy of Howdy Friend)

Camp Genealogy

Buck's father, Howard G. Boren, was also active in the YMCA and served on the YMCA Camp Fitch Committee.[5]

Buck won the Navy Cross for action on 25 Oct. 19441). The full citation reads:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Howard Gilmore Boren, Jr. (NSN: 0-278525), United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane of Torpedo Squadron FIFTY-ONE (VT-51), attached to the U.S.S. SAN JACINTO (CVL-30), during the attacks by United States Naval Forces against a large Japanese Task Force of surface ships in the vicinity of the Philippine Islands on 25 October 1944. During his final approach to launch his torpedo on an enemy carrier, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Boren received a direct hit from intense enemy anti-aircraft fire which entirely removed his plane’s port stabilizer and elevator and riddled its rudder and fin. This hit momentarily caused loss of control of his plane, but by unusual calmness and skill he regained control of his plane, made a 360 degree turn within the enemy screen and launched his attack on an enemy destroyer, obtaining a hit and severely damaging and probably sinking it. By continued good judgment, determination and great skill he successfully brought his plane back safely to base. His courage and skill were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

See Also


Buck flew TBM Avengers for the Navy Torpedo Squadron fifty-one (VT-51) based on USS San Jacinto. President George HW Bush flew in the same squadron along side Buck. They were both Lieutenant Junior Grade. 2)


This article was started based on oral history from Howdy Friend.

1. a Tear, Phil, 1964. Camp Fitch Golden Anniversary. Allied Printing, pp.21.
2. a, b Youngstown Vindicator, March 11, 1945. Lt. Boren Hero; Blasted 3 Ships. Youngstown Vindicator, A-14.
3. a US Navy, October 25, 1944. Howard Gilmore Boren Jr.. US Navy.
4. a Youngstown Vindicator, December 4, 1953. $20,701 Added to YMCA Fund. Youngstown Vindicator, pp.1.
5. a Camp Fitch, 1939. Silver Jubilee. Youngstown YMCA, pp.1-13.