|Pilot Ens. Walter M. Willis, O-084140 (MIA / KIA) MN
Gunner COX Fred Ducolon, 3927455 (MIA / KIA) CA
MIA December 7, 1941
Built by Douglas at El Segundo, CA. Constructors Number 682. Assigned to USS Enterprise (CV-6) to squadron VS-6. No known nickname or nose art.
On December 7, 1941 took off USS Enterprise on a scouting mission over Oahu. This aircraft is believed to have been shot down by American anti-aircraft fire during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Both were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Both are memorialized at the courts of the missing at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Willis on court 2. Ducolon on court X. Wilis also has a memorial marker at Vance Cemetery in Henry County, KY.
Steve Price / Hawaii Undersea Research Lab (HURL)
"Hawaii Undersea Research Lab was fortunate enough to be able to conduct a recent (October 1, 2010) "test and trial" dive at the site of a Dauntless tail section found in March of 2005. More recently a test dive with our ROV came across a wing root in the same vicinity (within 100m). We have always believed that this wreck was that of Ens. Walter Willis and his Gunner Fred Ducolon which were shot down on December 7, 1941 while scouting from the USS Enterprise to Oahu. We believed this based on the historical record of the aircraft of this type lost in the area South of Ewa Beach. Although there were no other known Dauntlesses lost in this area, there were still candidates with their final fates unknown and a few others that were lost in flight but their details were unspecific as to location or even if they crashed at sea.
Although limited in our time at the site we were lucky enough to be able to decipher the bureau number from the side of the vertical stabilizer. The Willis Dauntless was BuNo 2159, this aircraft was SBD BuNo 2136. Further survey to the east located an engine, then a wing root with one wing still attached, more smaller sections of fuselage and finally the wing root found on the ROV survey. So two wing roots and more wreckage than just one airplane were found. The Willis Family has been informed as to the outcome of this survey. Although, I'm sure they were disappointed, Walter's niece said she was glad to finally know for certain and that she had no regrets."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Walter M. Willis
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Fred John Ducolon
FindAGrave - Ens Walter M Willis (courts of the mising photo)
Walter Vernon Willis (memorial photo)
FindAGrave - COX Fred John Ducolon (courts of the mising photo)
Thanks to Steve Price / Hawaii Undersea Research Lab (HURL) for additional information
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June 29, 2019