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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive


Ship's Patches courtesy of Mike Smolinski

USS John Willis (DE 1027)


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign:
N - X - O - K
Tactical Voice Radio Call: "Kansas City"

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
National Defense Service Medal - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal


Specifications:
Class: Courtney
Type: SCB No. 72 / 1954 - 55
Number in Class: 10
Displacement: 1,314 tons (light), 1,877 tons (full)
Length: 308' (wl), 314' 6" (oa)
Beam: 36' 9" (extreme)
Draft: 19' 6" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 2 Foster-Wheeler boilers; 1 De Laval geared turbine; 20,000 shp; 1 shaft
Speed: 26 kts
Range: 6,000 nm @ 12 knots
Complement: 12 / 161
Guns: 4 - 3"/50 (76mm) Mk33 Guns (2x2)
ASW Weapons: 1 Mk 108 ASW rocket launcher, 6 - 12.75" (324mm) Mk 32 torpedo tubes (2x3) / Mk 46 torpedos
Radars: AN/SPS-5 (surface), AN/SPS-6C (air)
Sonars: AN/SQS-4
Fire Control Systems: Mk63 Gun FCS, Mk105 Underwater Battery FCS
John Willis (DE 1027) Building and Operational Data:
  • 05 July 1955: Keel laid at the New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J.
  • 04 February 1956: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Winfrey M. Duke, widow of John Willis
  • 21 February 1957: Commissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Lcdr H. O. Anson, Jr. in command, assigned to Escort Squadron 10 at Newport, R.I.
  • 14 July 1972: Decommissioned after 15.4 years of service; struck from the NVR
  • 08 May 1973: Sold for scrapping
    E
    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By And/Or Copyright
    John Willis 101k Artist's conception of John Willis (as built) by the renowned graphic illustrator John Barrett, with the text written by naval author and historian Robert F. Sumrall. Their company, Navy Yard Associates, offers prints of most destroyers, submarines and aircraft carriers in various configurations during the ship's lifetime. ALL destroyer escorts are available. The prints can be customized with ship's patches, your photograph, your bio, etc. When you purchase artwork from them, please indicate that you heard about their work from Navsource. Navy Yard Associates
    John Willis 49k John Harlan Willis was born on 10 June 1921 in Columbia, Tenn. Following graduation from high school in November 1940 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He received recruit training at Naval Training Station, Norfolk, Va. and corpsman training at the Norfolk Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Va.. In March 1941, Willis was promoted to Seaman, Second Class and was briefly assigned to the Naval Hospital, Parris Island, S.C., transferring to Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Fla. in the late spring. In August 1941 he was promoted to Hospital Apprentice First Class and, in December, to Pharmacist's Mate Third Class. After receiving a promotion to Pharmacist's Mate Second Class in September 1942, Willis served with Naval Operating Base Units, organizing and training units for overseas service. In July 1943 he was promoted to Pharmacist's Mate First Class. That November he joined the Training Detachment, Field Medical School Battalion, Fleet Marine Force Training Center at Camp Elliot, San Diego, California, transferring in early 1944 to Headquarters Company, Third Battalion, Twenty-seventh Marines, Fifth Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California. With his unit, he participated as a Platoon Corpsman in the battle of Iwo Jima. On 28 February 1945, while aiding fallen Marines during a fierce action near Japanese-held Hill 362, he was wounded and ordered back to the battle-aid station. Disregarding his injuries, Willis returned to the battle area to resume casualty assistance. He was helping a wounded Marine when the enemy attacked with hand grenades. After throwing eight grenades back at the enemy, he was killed when one exploded in his hand. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life," he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. John H. Willis is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, Columbia, Tenn..

    USS John Willis (DE 1027) (1957-1972) was the first ship named in his honor.      (U.S. Navy photo #NH76411-A from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Navsource
    John Willis 87k undated Gerald Meyers
    John Willis 83k undated: Newport, R.I. - USS Grand Canyon (AD 28) moored at the Newport Naval Station with a group of DE's nested to her port side. John Willis is outboard ship in the nest which consists of five modern DE's and one World War II DER conversion. (Photo by Richard Miller) Richard Miller
    BMCS, USNR (ret.)
    John Willis 233k 13 March 1957: Philadelphia, Pa. - John Willis lays to off the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.Ed Zajkowski
    John Willis 108k 13 August 1959 (U.S. Navy Photo) Marc Arsenault,
    Webmaster for the
    Newport Dealeys website
    John Willlis 96k circa 1959: USS John Willis (DE 1027) underway. (U.S. Navy Photo, from "Jane's Fighting Ships" 1960-61) Robert Hurst
    John Willis 78k circa 1967
    John Willis 74k An undated postcard view of John Willis.    (Postcard © Arnold Art Store, Newport, R.I.; shown at 150% of original size)

    Caption reads: A unit of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet home-ported at Newport, R.I. on Narragansett Bay. (Official U.S. Navy photograph)
    Mike Smolinski
    ***Courtney / Willis*** 171k undated: Antwerp, Belgium - A photo of John Willis, moored outboard of USS Courtney (DE 1021) while on a port visit to Antwerp. Gilbert Gyssels
    John Willis 56k Scanned from the cruise book of May to September 1967 on our Northern European and Med Cruise. I think the picture was taken in the fjords of Norway, either coming or going to the city of Bergen. James T. Toms
    CWO3 (Bos'n), USCG (ret)
    John Willis 74k circa 1971 Robert Hurst
    John Willis 194k undated Bill Gonyo

    John Willis Memorabilia
    Ship's
    Plaque
    John Willis
    Courtesy of
    Mike Smolinski
    Ship's
    Plaque
    John Willis
    Courtesy of
    Mike Smolinski
    1960 Magazine
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    John Willis

    Navsource

    View the USS John Willis (DE 1027) DANFS history entry
    located on the Naval History and Heritage Command website.
    John Willis's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.)  21 Feb. 1957 - 1958Lcdr. Henry Osgood Anson, Jr.
    2.)  May 1958 - 1959Lcdr. David Ervin Cummins III
    3.)  1959 - 1961Lcdr. James Spray Gardner
    4.)  1961 - 30 Aug. 1962Lcdr. Edgar Maxwell Cocke
    5.)  30 Aug. 1962 - 11 Mar. 1964Cdr. Edwin Elmore Woods, Jr.
    6.)  11 Mar. 1964 - Jul. 1965Lcdr. Gardner S. Barrett
    7.)  Jul 1965 - 1967 Cdr. Charles Moulton Plumly
    8.)  1967 - 1968Lcdr. Henry Clayton Atwood, Jr.
    9.)  1968 - Jan. 1970 Lcdr. Compton Eugene Ward
    10.) Jan. 1970 - Jun. 1971Lcdr. Raymond Guy Zeller (ret. as Radm.)
    11.) Jun. 1971 14 Jul. 1972 Lcdr. Robert Marlin Hydinger

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    2014 Reunion for all Newport Based Dealeys, CortRon 8, 10, 14
    5 - 8 September 2014 at Boston, Mass.
    Chairman: Marc Arsenault
    Address: 98 Oxbow Road / Charlton MA 01507
    Phone: (508) 248-5072
    E-mail: marc-a@charter.net
    or
    contact through Newport Dealey link below

    Note About Contacts

    Contact information is compiled from various sources over a period of time and may, or may not, be correct. Every effort has been
    made to list the newest contact. However, our entry is only as good as the latest information that's been sent to us. We list only
    a contact for the ship if one has been sent to us. We do NOT have crew lists or rosters available. Please see the Frequently Asked
    Questions section on Navsource's Main Page for that information.


    Additional Resources

    Home of the Newport Dealeys
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer History Foundation
    Tin Can Sailors Shipmate Registry - USS John Willis
    To The DE Photo Index Page Back To The Main Photo Index

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    This Page Created And Maintained by Mike Smolinski
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated 16 May 2014