James Beane was born on January 20, 1896, in New York City, New York. He joined the U.S. Ambulance Service in France in July 1916, serving as an ambulance driver for a year during World War I before joining the French Air Service in August 1917. Beane transferred to the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps and was commissioned a 1st Lt in February 1918, and was then assigned to the 22nd Aero Squadron. He was credited with the destruction of 6 enemy aircraft in aerial combat before he was killed in action on October 30, 1918. James Beane was buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France.
His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to James Dudley Beane, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Bantheville, France, October 29, 1918. When Lieutenant Beane's patrol was attacked by eight enemy planes (Fokker type) he dived into their midst in order to divert their attention from the other machines of his group and shot down one of the Fokkers in flames. Four other Fokkers then joined in the battle, one of which was also destroyed by this officer.