|Birth: ||May 7, 1920|
|Death: ||Nov. 2, 1943|
East New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Willis F. Evers was born May 7, 1920, in Hildreth, Nebraska to John and Lena (Buss) Evers. Willis was baptized and confirmed at St. Peters Lutheran Church. He was a 1937 graduate of Hildreth High school where he was active in sports and school activities.
Willis was a fun loving man who loved adventure and riding motorcycles. It was no surprise to his family when he enlisted in the Army Calvary in 1940 at Ft. Crook. After basic training he was sent to Ft. Meade in South Dakota where he joined the motorcycle scouts.
Although Willis loved riding motorcycles his true desire was to become a pilot and when opportunity presented itself he transferred to the Army Air Corp. Willis trained to be a fighter pilot, during WWII, at Ryan Field, Hemet, CA. He learned to fly the P-38 Lightning, a plane designed and built by Lockheed. The P-38 was built for speed and fire power, dubbed by the Luftwaffe as "The Forked Tail Devil".
After completing his pilot training he was promoted to Flight Officer and in September, 1943 was sent to join the 8th Fighter Group, 80th Squadron at Port Moresby, New Guinea to fight the Japanese. Willis joined well known Aces such as Edward "Porkey" Cragg, Alan Hill, Norb Ruff and often flew as wing man for Louis Schriber.
Willis was in New Guinea just two months before he was killed on November 2, 1943, during the battle over Rabaul, New Britain. There was fierce fighting that day, with hundreds of planes in the air and ships in Simpson Harbor. Willis was flying as wing man to Louis Schriber, he reported that Willis had made a hit on one of the Japanese Zeros, it fell in a spin into the harbor. When Schriber looked around again to find Willis he was no where in sight. Willis never reported back to base and was listed as missing in action. On December 15, 1945, his parents, received word from the War Department that all efforts to located him had been exhausted and declared him as dead.
The wreckage of Willis' plane would lay undetected for 43years. In 1986 a plantation surveyor, walking through the jungle, near the village of Ulagunan, unexpectedly discovered the wreckage of a P38-F Lighting. The plane and its contents had been undisturbed. The discovery would put an end to the mystery of what happened to F/O Willis F. Evers on November 2, 1943.
On September 15, 1989, Willis' remains were returned to his family and laid to rest next to his parents, John and Lena (Buss) Evers, at St. Peters Cemetery, Hildreth, Nebraska. Fifteen members from the 1st Infantry, Bravo Battery from Ft. Leavenworth provided military pallbearers and the gunner group for the 21-gun salute. Fourteen of Hildreth Veterans of Foreign Wars provided an honor guard. A flyover by F-4 Phantom Jets flew over the ceremony tipping their wings as a final salute to a young WWII Pilot who had finally come home.
Willis F. Evers received the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart. He is listed on "The Tables of the Missing" at the American Cemetery in Manila, Philippines, the WWII memorial in Washington D.C, and on the Memorial Brick Wall in Franklin, Nebraska. He was also honored by the Hildreth V.F.W., which bears the name Osterbuhr, Evers and Carter V.F.W, Post 6016; all young men from Hildreth who lost their lives during WWII. May their sacrifice always be remembered
John Evers (1885 - 1989)
Lena Johanna Buss Evers (1892 - 1971)
Hermann John Evers (1911 - 2001)**
J. Ray Evers (1916 - 2003)*
Johanna "Jo" Marie Evers Barta (1918 - 2007)*
Willis Frederick Evers (1920 - 1943)
George Edward Evers (1922 - 2014)*
Saint Peters Cemetery
Maintained by: Terri Kallio
Originally Created by: LF
Record added: Jul 14, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 20445648