A World War II posthumous Navy Purple Heart, splt brooch, officially engraved on the reverse in Navy style "Ensign/William J./Cummings, Jr./USNR". There is wear to the gilt surfaces on the obverse and around the lettering on the reverse. Ensign Cummings flew as a pilot with Navy Fighter Squadron VF-30 off of the USS Belleau Wood. He was reported as Missing in Action following a mission over Kyushu on March 18, 1945. He was declared dead a year and a day later in accordance with military policy at that time. He was also the recipient of an Air Medal and a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross. The DFC was announced in Navy Personnel Information Bulletin 348 in March of 1946, at the time that Cummings was converted from MIA status to KIA status. The award was announced as follows: "Ensign William J. Cummings, Jr. (NSN: 0-351624), United States Navy, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a Fighter Pilot embarked in U.S.S. BELLEAU WOOD from 16 February 1945 to 18 March 1945." Cummings had been a student at Brown University in Rhode Island, class of 1944, and he left prior to graduation to serve in the Navy as an aviator. A Brown University Alumni newsletter in 1946 carried the following statement:
"A posthumous award of the Distinguished Flying Cross was made to Ens. William J. Cummings, Jr., USNR, and accepted by his mother in presentation
ceremonies on the campus June 12 before a formation of the Brown Naval Unit. Cummings, a former member of the NROTC unit, left during his Sophomore year to become an air cadet. He was commissioned and received his wings at Pensacola in March, 1944, and was assigned to Fighter Squadron 30, attached to the USS Belleau Wood. He was presumed dead after failing to return from a mission over Kyushu March 18, 1945. "Heroism
and extraordinary achievement" was [sic] the
basis of the award."