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WWII Marine Corps Bomber Pilot Medals & Insignia Group
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DESCRIPTION

The medals, insignia, original portrait photograph, and photocopied documents and photos of U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant (later Captain) Duane G. Willis, who served during World War II and the Korean War. Willis entered active duty in the Marine Corps in May of 1944 and flew combat missions as a bomber pilot in Marine Bomber Squadron 413 in 1944 and 1945. The group includes the following items:
- Willis' Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal, both with full wrap broach suspension and both unnamed as awarded in the theater of operations. According to copies of documents with the group, Willis would ultimately receive 5 gold stars for his Air Medal and a gold star for his DFC.
- The large leather name tag that was removed from Willis' flight jacket, embossed in gold with his name and Navy aviator wings.
- Willis' Navy Aviator wings, manufactured by Gemsco. Apparently the wings and other items were at one time mounted in a frame, and so they have some adhesive residue on the reverse and the pin or attachment posts on the back of the wing were removed. Also with the group is a WWII shoulder patch of the 1st Marine Air Wing, removed from a uniform, and one of Willis' dog tags.

The group also includes an original portrait photograph of Willis in Marine Corps uniform, wearing his wings. The photograph is 6 1/4 by 8 1/4 inches in size. On the reverse it is marked with the name of a commercial photographer and is stamped to indicate that it was passed by a U.S. Navy Censor. The group further includes an original 2004 letter to a collector from Willis' widow, sending him photocopies of photographs and documents relating to her late husband's service. These include: a copy of a letter from another pilot who flew with Willis in the squadron, sent to Mrs. Willis following her husband's death in 2003; a copy of Willis' 1946 Marine Corps discharge certificate; a copy of the DD214 form, indicating that Willis, with the rank of Captain, was discharged from the Marine Corps reserves in February of 1954. Since the only medal listed on this form is the National Defense Medal, with no medals for service in Korea, it would seem that Willis was not deployed to fly in Korea during that conflict; A copy of a 1950 letter to Willis from Marine Corps Headquarters, forwarding to him the permanent citations for his DFC and Air Medal; A copy of the citation memo for a gold star to the DFC for service in June of 1945 in the Pacific, during which time Willis completed 40 missions; A copy of Willis; appointment as a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserves in 1948; a copy of an 8 by 10 inch portrait photo of Willis as a Navy cadet; a copy of an 8 by 10 photo of Willis leaning out of the cockpit window of a B-25 Bomber; a copy of an 8 by 10 photo of Willis in civilian clothes next to a small private plane; and a copy of a 5 1/2 by 7 3/4 inch photograph of Willis as a member of a Navy volleyball team.