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Hero of Battle of Midway James Muri dies at age 93

BILLINGS, Montana -- World War II pilot James Muri, who saved his crippled B-26 bomber and crew by buzzing the flight deck of a Japanese aircraft carrier during the Battle of Midway, has died in Billings. He was 93.

Muri died Sunday of natural causes, according to Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary.

On June 4, 1942, Muri piloted one of four B-26 bombers that took off from Midway Island to attack a Japanese fleet planning to invade the U.S. outpost about 1,100 miles (1,770 kilometers) northwest of Hawaii.

Japanese fighter planes shot the bombers with machine guns and cannons. Muri's bomber was struck and three crewmen were wounded, but he launched a torpedo at the aircraft carrier Akagi and then flew the plane down its flight deck to avoid the ship's guns, which were all pointed outward.

Muri flew lower than treetop level above the deck of the massive ship, reasoning that skimming the flight deck gave him the best chance to survive.

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