Leonard R. Willette

(Jan. 18, 1945) -- Flight Officer Leonard R. Willette, 22, was declared killed in action this week.

Willette, service number O1692873, had been listed as missing in action since Sept. 22.

He is the son of Newark Police Lt. and Mrs. Lawrence Willette, of Stephens Street.

The young man enlisted in the Army Air Corps while a student at New York University. He entered the service from New Jersey.

He refused an appointment by the late Senator Barbour to West Point in order to get into active combat more quickly.

Willette received his wings in February 1944, at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Ala.

He was a P-51 Mustang pilot based in Italy with the famed 99th Fighter Squadron, 322nd Fighter Group, under command of Col. Benjamin O. Davis.

2nd Lt. Willette, was awarded the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, and the Purple Heart, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star, WWII Victory Medal, WWII Lapel Button.

He is also survived by a brother Pvt. Lawrence Willette Jr. at Tinker Field, Okla.

He is memorialized at: Plot J, Row 18, Grave 17, at the Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold, France.

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