North High School Wall of Honor
Willard Glenn Dunn
Class of January, 1938
Died; KIA; Killed in Action
Research done by Rick Nehrling, class of 1963 and Claradell Shedd, class of 1953.
Willard Glenn Dunn
Willard was a member of North High's class of January, 1938. His serial number was 0-730414. His death was reported as KIA, Killed in Action in Tunis, Tunisia. At the time of his death, he ws a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps.
Willard Glenn Dunn
Year   Rank/Rating   Status
1930 x Family x 1930 Census indicates living at 151 East Madison Avenue
January,1938 x x x Graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA
date   Education
  Two years of college
1940 x Residence x 1940 Census indicates living at 151 East Seneca Street
date x Family x Married Judy Kay Dunn.
January 23, 1942 x US Army Air Corps/
x Enlisted at Fort Des Moines, IA. After his death, 1949 Military paperwork filed indicates prior to entering the armed service he lived at 3220 Fifth Street, Des Moines, IA (in the Highland Park area)
date x US Army Air Corps x Basic training. Where and when? 71st Army Air Force Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Group
January 22, 1943 x US Army Air Corps/
2nd Lt.
x Killed in action at Tunis, Tunisia
Mar 29, 1949 x Buried x Remains returned and interred at Keokuk National Cemetery, Keokuk, IA
71st Army Air Corps Fighter Squadron; 1st Fighter Group
The 71st Fighter Training Squadron was founded in December 1940 as the 71st Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor). Initial activation to the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan on 1 January 1941 was definite evidence of America's impending direct involvement in World War II. Initial activation training was accomplished in the P-35. This was changed to the YP-43 Lancer when the squadron was redesignated as the 71st Pursuit Squadron (Fighter) on 12 March 1941. The squadron gained proficiency in the aircraft and the anti-submarine mission while training on the Great Lakes. On 9 December 1941, just two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the squadron reported to NAS San Diego in defense of the important Southern California coast. Two months later, the 71st moved north to Los Angeles to transition to the P-38 Lightning and was renamed the 71st Fighter Squadron. June 1942 saw the 71st become the first single-seat, twin engine fighter unit to deploy to England during World War II.

The 71st became the first P-38 unit in combat. Capt John D. Eiland was credited with the squadron's first-ever combat kill after downing a German Focke-Wulf Fw-190 on 4 December 1942. The pilots were continuously at the forefront of the air battles.[citation needed] Seventeen Campaign Participation Credits were awarded to the 71st and they earned three Distinguished Unit Citations. The squadron claimed 102 kills and produced 5 aces, including one pilot who became an ace in one mission. The 71st Squadron flew under the "Cragmore" callsign during World War II, and its original patch included a skull with lightning bolts in the shape of 71. In June 1943, General Carl Spaatz and General James H. Doolittle traveled to their UK base to present decorations earned in combat. This award ceremony was soon followed by Distinguished Unit Citations presented on 25 August 1943 and 30 August 1943 for escort missions against Italian targets. The squadron was presented another Distinguished Unit Citation by General Nathan Twining in May 1944 for an escort of B-17s against oil installations at Ploiesti, Romania. On 10 June 1944, during an otherwise disastrous low-level bombing mission against the oil refineries by two groups of P-38s, 2nd Lt Herbert "Stub" Hatch, Jr. achieved 5 kills in one mission, all within one minute, causing the gun barrels of his P-38 to melt. Upon completion of its tour in Europe, the squadron was inactivated in Italy on 16 October 1945.

1st Fighter Group
On the date the United States entered World War II the 94th Pursuit Squadron was in El Paso, Texas, its 20 P-38s en route from Selfridge Field to March Field, California. The 27th and 71st squadrons were immediately sent with an additional 12 P-38s and 24 P-43 fighters to March Field to provide the West Coast air defense against Japanese attack.

During its brief duty at March Field the Group provided cadre for newly mobilized fighter groups, losing over half of its assigned officers and enlisted men, but still made preparations for deployment to Europe on 25 April 1942. Before its departure, however, retired captain Eddie Rickenbacker made the first of several visits to the group both at home and abroad during World War II, listened to the Group’s concerns and reported them to General "Hap" Arnold. Rickenbacker also worked with Arnold to reinstate the hat-in-the ring emblem, absent since Rickenbacker himself claimed the right to it when he retired, back to the 94th Fighter Squadron.

In 1942, U.S. war policy placed first priority with the war in Europe. VIII Fighter Command Special Orders 46, dated 25 June 1942, deployed 86 aircraft and pilots of the newly designated 1st Fighter Group to England as part of Operation Bolero, with the first aircraft departing on 27 June. Flights of P-38s were led by individual B-17s from the 97th Bomb Group navigating the route between Presque Isle, Maine, Labrador, Greenland and Iceland. En route the 27th Fighter Squadron was detached at "Indigo" airfield, Reykjavík, Iceland, for air defense duty in July and August. On 15 July 1942, six fighters from the 94th FS, "Tomcat Yellow" and "Tomcat Green", and their two B-17 escorts were forced by bad weather and low fuel to land on a glacier in Greenland. The crews were all recovered safely but the aircraft were abandoned.

Group headquarters and the 71st Fighter Squadron were based at RAF Goxhill, near Kingston upon Hull, and the 94th FS at Kirton in Lindsey. The 27th flew to England on 27 August after the group had moved south to Ibsley, and was based at High Ercall. During the late summer of 1942, the 1st FG flew training, escort and fighter sweeps over German-occupied France. The group experienced its first combat loss on 2 October 1942, when a P-38F escorting B-17 Flying Fortress bombers on a mission to Méaulte, France, was shot down by a German fighter of JG 26 near Calais, and 2nd Lt. William H. Young was killed in action.

The fighter and bomber groups initially deployed to England (97th and 301st Bomb Groups, and 1st, 14th, 31st, and 52nd Fighter Groups) were reassigned to support Operation Torch and redeployed to North Africa. While in transit, two 94th FS Lightnings were forced by mechanical difficulties to land in neutral Portugal, where the aircraft were confiscated and the pilots interned. However 1st Lt. Jack Ilfrey escaped, returned to the group, and became one of its leading aces. 1st Lt. Robert N. Chenoweth was killed when his P-38, on a ferry flight from the UK to North Africa, crashed into a mountain at Ortigueira, Corunna, Spain, on 15 November 1942. By 13 November 1942, the group completed the move to Algeria, where they provided close air support and fighter protection against the Afrika Korps.

On 29 November 1942, the 94th Fighter Squadron flew the group's first combat sorties in the Mediterranean theater, strafing a German airfield and recording several aerial victories. However, as the year came to a close, the group's morale sagged. Though the move from England to the desert environment added sometimes 200–300 hours to the life of the liquid-cooled Allisons, few replacement parts and virtually no replacement aircraft were available. Col. Clifford R. Silliman, in charge of Lightning maintenance and repairs for the 1st, 12th and 14th fighter groups, recalled that no hangars, machine shops or service bays were available, forcing ground crews to make repairs in the open air. Crewmen were exposed not only to attack but to virtually incessant blowing sand and dust that continually fouled filters, breathers and lubricants. The searing sun was so intense that mechanics were unable to as much as touch the aluminum surfaces of the fuselage, wings and cowlings with exposed skin, Silliman said. The grating sand found its way not only into engine components and weapons but crewmens' bedding, footwear, clothing, hair, eyes and even their teeth. Pilots recorded some kills, but the loss ratio in air-to-air combat was even at best. For nearly a year, the group moved throughout Algeria and Tunisia, flying bomber escort and providing air coverage for the ground campaign. On 23 February 1943, the group began two days of low-level strafing missions in support of hard-pressed Allied troops at Kasserine Pass, losing several aircraft.

In April 1943 the Germans made several concerted attempts to reinforce the Afrika Korps using Ju 52 transports flown at wavetop level over the Mediterranean Sea, resulting in a series of interceptions by Allied aircraft and large numbers of transports destroyed. On 5 April, pilots of the 27th FS shot down 11, plus four Ju 87 Stukas and two Me 109 escorts, losing two Lightnings. On 10 April, the 71st FS intercepted another large force escorted by 15 Macchi 200 and Fw 190 fighters, shooting down 20 transports and 8 of the escorts without loss to itself. The North African campaign ended with the capture of Tunis on 7 May 1943.
Keokuk National Cemetery, Keokuk, IA; Plot D, 281

The above information was obtained from the following:
(1) The World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel were created by the War Department, the Adjutant General's Office, Administrative Services Division, Strength Accounting Branch. The original records are held at the Modern Military records LICON, Textural Services Division (NWCTM), National Archives at College Park, Maryland.
The documents contain the latest and most complete information available of all Army and Army Air Force personnel who were killed or died, or became and remained missing between the President's declaration of unlimited national emergency on May 27, 1941, and the cut-off date of this report, January 31, 1946. This document includes both battle and nonbattle dead and missing. The records are available online at

The type of casualty is indicated by the following:

    * KIA - Killed in Action. This is an individual who was killed in action at the front, by enemy action in the rear, or if a prisoner of war.
    * DOW - Died of Wounds. This is an individual was who wounded and later died.
    * DOI - This is an individual who suffered fatal battle injuries and died in a line of duty status.
    *DNB - Died Nonbattle. This is an individual who died in a line of duty death, such as from sickness, homicide, suicide, or accidents outside of combat areas (training).
    *M - Missing. This is an individual who is reported as missing and later was determined to be dead.
    *FOD - Finding of Death. Findings of death fall within Public Law 490 and its amendments and are made when there is either conclusive proof that the person is dead or equally overwhelming evidence that under the circumstances the person could not have remained alive.

This document contains the names of those individuals who died in the line of duty status. Those individuals who were not in the line of duty at the time of their death are not listed in this document.

(2) The World War II Army Enlistment Records contain information on more than nine million indivdual enlistments. These records can be found online at

(3) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: Willard Glenn Dunn's 1938 class page is:

Died: 01/22/43; KIA; Killed in Action. Tunis, Tunisia
Music: "Wind Beneath My Wings"
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