DONALD G. WILLIS, 1LT, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Donald Willis '24

Date of birth: February 24, 1901

Date of death: September 21, 1931

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1924 Lucky Bag:

Loss

Donald was lost on September 21, 1931 when the plane he was piloting crashed five miles off the coast of Point Loma, California, near San Diego. The other crewman aboard was also killed.

He is buried in Vermont. Donald was survived by his wife, Ida, and his mother.

Memorial Hall Error

Donald is not listed with his classmates in Memorial Hall. This omission was discovered by Mr. Tim Barbosa, who was researching alumni from the classes of 1921-1924.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

July 1924

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: 2LT Ronald Boone '20, 2LT Charles Kail '23, and 2LT John Harris '23.

September 1924

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: 2LT Ronald Boone '20, 2LT Charles Kail '23, and 2LT John Harris '23.

November 1924

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: 2LT Ronald Boone '20 and 2LT John Harris '23.

January 1925

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

March 1925

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

May 1925

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

July 1925

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: CAPT Arthur Page, Jr. '18, 2LT Charles Kail '23, and 2LT John Harris '23.

October 1925

2nd Lieutenant, Expeditionary Forces, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

January 1926

2nd Lieutenant, Expeditionary Forces, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

October 1926

2nd Lieutenant, Expeditionary Forces, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

January 1927

2nd Lieutenant, Aircraft Squadrons, East Coast Expeditionary Forces, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

April 1927

2nd Lieutenant, Aircraft Squadrons, East Coast Expeditionary Forces, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

October 1927

2nd Lieutenant, staff, Marine Base, San Diego, California

January 1928

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii

April 1928

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii

July 1928

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii

October 1928

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii

January 1929

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii

April 1929

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii

July 1929

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii

October 1929

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii

January 1930

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii

April 1930

2nd Lieutenant, Aircraft Squadrons, East Coast Expeditionary Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: 2LT Guy Chappell '27.

January 1931

1st Lieutenant, Aircraft Squadrons, East Coast Expeditionary Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

April 1931

1st Lieutenant, Aircraft Squadrons, East Coast Expeditionary Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

July 1931

1st Lieutenant, Aircraft Squadrons, East Coast Expeditionary Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

October 1931

1st Lieutenant, Aircraft Squadrons, West Coast Expeditionary Force, Naval Air Station San Diego, California


Class of 1924

William is one of 42 members of the Class of 1924 on Virtual Memorial Hall.