RAIDERS Darling, Willard A.

John Robertson

Staff member
Willard A.
  • UNIT
2 Raider Bn (Company E)
  • RANK
Navy Cross
Pearl Harbor 1941 (pre Raiders)
born 26.12.1918, Wilson, Oklahoma
home Wilson, Oklahoma
father William Benjamin Darling (1892-1964)
mother Eula Ann (nee Marrs) (1895-1974)
28.07.1946 wife Anne Marie (nee Schlect) (1920-1971)
daughter Ann-Elaine Darling (1948-1991)
1953 wife Dorothy B. Booker (1914-1995)
died 29.10.1976, Aged 57 Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA
buried Woodlawn Park Cemetery South, Miami, Florida, USA


Navy Cross : The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Private First Class Willard D. Darling (MCSN: 284552), United States Marine Corps, for exceptional courage, presence of mind, and devotion to duty and disregard for his personal safety while serving on board the U.S.S. OKLAHOMA (BB-37) during the Japanese attack on the United States Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on 7 December 1941. While being evacuated from the U.S.S. OKLAHOMA in a motor launch, upon seeing an officer in the water too weak to swim and apparently drowning, Corporal Darling dove from the motor launch, swam to the officer and kept him afloat until another motor launch which he hailed picked them up. Upon being left alone in the motor launch with this officer, in the vicinity of a dredge pipe line in the harbor, where the crew abandoned the motor launch, he jumped into the water and directed the officer to follow him, which he (the officer) did. However, the officer was too exhausted to swim and was brought ashore by Corporal Darling. The action of Corporal Darling, in the face of the severe enemy bombing and strafing which continued throughout the time he was effecting this rescue, is considered most praiseworthy and in accordance with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


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