In September of 1943 Willis was sent to Port Moresby, New Guinea. He joined the 8th Fighter Group, 80th Squadron as a fighter pilot serving under Maj. Edward "Porky" Cragg. They call themselves the "Headhunters", a name that Maj. Cragg came up with to honor the local tribesman who helped rescue many downed pilots to safety and also to show their fighting spirit.
At Port Moresby, Willis joins well known Aces such as Norb Ruff, Edward "Porky" Cragg, Louis Schriber and many others. He writes home that the plane he is assigned is a P-38 Lightening and states "it's old but it flies good". This plane was flown earlier in New Guinea by Pearl Harbor famed George Welch. George Welch was one of the only pilots at Pearl Harbor to get a plane off the ground to fight the Japanese that invaded Hawaii on December 7, 1941.
September 11, 1943
Dear Mother & Dad,
Here it is 6:00 P.M. I am writing this letter at our club, a cement floor a few poles to hold up the roof and the sides are covered with screen. We have a bar, a radio, phonograph, tables, chairs and because we are having a party tonight we have a piano, just think a piano. Lt. Mcgee, he shot his 5th down yesterday, is playing the piano. Some of the fellows just brought us some flowers and they are decorating the place.
Lt. Hill, one of the fellows that went to Seattle with me is here in my squadron. He shot his first zero down yesterday. He told us all about it when he got back.
This morning another fellow and I went down to the beach and went swimming. It was a lot of fun. You would be surprised at the different fellows that are in the squadron. One was a Missionary, one a clerk in Washington D.C., one a motorcycle racer and etc. So far I have not heard from anyone.
To be continued........