Willis Sherman Lees III
|HOME OF RECORD
49 Howard Avenue, Passaic, NJ
|NEXT OF KIN
Father, Mr. Willis S. Lees, Jr.
|DATE OF BIRTH
May 13, 1941
|DATE OF LOSS
October 2, 1942
|CAMPAIGN / AREA
MIA / Declared Dead
3 October 1943
|CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
Second Lieutenant Willis “Budge” Lees was a pilot assigned to VMF-223, part of the Cactus Air Force operating out of Guadalcanal.
On 2 October 1942, Lees took off from Henderson Field to intercept a raiding force of Japanese aircraft. His aircraft, F4F-4 Bureau Number 02098 (Squadron #19), was targeted by Lt (j.g.) Katsutoshi Kawamata of the Tainan kokutai. Kawamata shredded the Wildcat with a well-aimed burst.
Lieutenant Lees bailed out of his stricken fighter, but was never seen again. He was declared dead on 3 October 1943.
Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart
|LAST KNOWN RANK
Posthumous promotion to Captain.
|STATUS OF REMAINS
Manila American Cemetery
Temporarily removed for editing and updating. Contact the webmaster for information on this Marine.
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain Willis S. Lees (MCSN: 0-9428), United States Marine Corps, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight in combat with the enemy while serving as a Fighter Pilot during the Solomon Islands campaign. During the period from 24 August to 15 September 1942, he shot down two enemy aircraft. Assisted by another Marine Corps Fighter Pilot he shot down a third enemy aircraft while operating with his squadron from the airfield on Guadalcanal. His courage throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
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