From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
John Soens '42

Date of birth: March 16, 1920

Date of death: May 27, 1942

Age: 22

Naval Academy Register

John Aubrey Soens was admitted to the Naval Academy with an At Large appointment on July 1, 1938 at age 18 years 4 months.

He voluntarily resigned on November 10, 1938.


John was lost on May 27, 1942 when his training plane crashed at Pensacola, Florida.

Other Information

From Oakland Tribune on May 28, 1942:

The morning mail brought Miss Mabel B. Higgins, of 4239 Lakeshore Avenue, a cheering letter from her nephew, John Aubrey Soens, 22, telling how happy he was as a Navy flying cadet at Pensacola, Fla.

A telegram in the afternoon informed her that he had been killed yesterday in a flying accident.

The telegram failed to beat the letter across the continent by a mere matter of hours. It did not give details of the crash.

Soens, who graduated from Piedmont High School six years ago and later attended the University of California and the Naval Academy at Annapolis, was more like a son than a nephew to Miss Higgins. She had raised him from the time he was 13 months old.


His mother, the late Elizabeth Higgins Soens, died from the effects of wounds she suffered as a nurse in World War I.

His father, Adolph L. Soens, lives in Durango, Colo.

Young Soens, who tried to divide his interests between writing and a naval career, took a leave of absence from the university after the Pearl Harbor attack, and was graduated in January from the Navy's Elimination Flight Training School at the Oakland Airport.


He was sent next to Texas, where he stayed only 10 days, and then went on to Pensacola. At the Florida base he edited the cadet newspaper. In his letter to his aunt yesterday, he described his studies and said that he would be "busy for the rest of the week" doing formation flying.

His aunt said that the letter was one of the happiest she had had from him and that he was delighted with his career.

The youth's body is being brought home and funeral services will be arranged at the Albert Brown mortuary.

He is buried in Oakland, California.

John's father was drafted for service in WWI and became a qualified pilot, but did not leave for Europe before the end of the war there. His father remarried but does not appear to have had any other children.

Class of 1942

John is one of 82 members of the Class of 1942 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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