Bookmark and Share

Willis Augustus Lee , Jr.

Date of birth: March 11, 1888
Date of death: DNB: May 1945
Place of Birth: Kentucky, Natlee
Home of record: Owenton Kentucky
Status: DNB

Willis Lee graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1908. He retired as a U.S. Navy Vice Admiral.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Navy Cross

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Rear Admiral Willis Augustus Lee, Jr., United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commander, Combat Division SIX, during an engagement with Japanese naval forces near Savo Island on the night of 14 - 15 November, 1942. Rear Admiral Lee sought out and engaged an overwhelmingly powerful foe and in the furious battle that followed destroyed at least one Japanese battleship, three cruisers, and one destroyer; damaging several others, and turning back the remainder of the enemy fleet, thereby frustrating a formidable Japanese offensive. Rear Admiral Lee's inspiring leadership and the valiant devotion to duty of his command contributed in large measure to the outstanding success of these vital missions and reflect great credit upon the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 315 (June 1943)

Action Date: November 14 - 15, 1942

Service: Navy

Rank: Rear Admiral

Company: Commander

Division: Combat Division 6

Navy Distinguished Service Medal

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Vice Admiral Willis Augustus Lee, Jr., United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States as Commander, Battleships, Pacific Fleet, and Commander of a task group operating against Japanese forces from April through June 1944. Admiral Lee skillfully maneuvered his ships to form a screen for our carrier units throughout numerous engagements. He directed the bombardment of shore installations at Ponape and Saipan. On 19 June when our task force was subjected to a full scale attack by Japanese carrier-based aircraft he directed the movements of his ships for maximum effectiveness.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 334 (January 1945)

Action Date: April - June 1944

Service: Navy

Rank: Vice Admiral

Navy Distinguished Service Medal

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Vice Admiral Willis Augustus Lee, Jr., United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States as Commander, Battleships, Pacific Fleet, and Commander of a task group operating against Japanese forces from April through June 1944. Admiral Lee skillfully maneuvered his ships to form a screen for our carrier units throughout numerous engagements. He directed the bombardment of shore installations at Ponape and Saipan. On 19 June when our task force was subjected to a full scale attack by Japanese carrier-based aircraft he directed the movements of his ships for maximum effectiveness.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 334 (January 1945)

Action Date: April - June 1944

Service: Navy

Rank: Vice Admiral

Navy Distinguished Service Medal

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (Posthumously) to Vice Admiral Willis Augustus Lee, Jr., United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States as Commander Battle Squadron TWO, Pacific Fleet, and Commander of a task force of battleships, from July 1944 to 27 May 1945. Vice Admiral Lee directed his task force with superb tactical skill throughout a period of intense carrier activity, contributing largely to the effectiveness of protective screens in the repulsion of incessant enemy aircraft attacks. Throughout the Battle for Leyte Gulf and the operations against the Japanese-held islands of Palau, the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, he deployed his ships to achieve maximum strength in the defense of our carriers and, by accurate bombardment of shore installations and gun positions, the neutralization of enemy resistance in preparations for our amphibious landings. Vice Admiral Lee's inspiring leadership, energetic zeal, and resolute devotion to duty were vital factors in the success of fast carrier task forces during a critical period in the Pacific war.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 345 (December 1945)

Action Date: July 1944 - May 27, 1945

Service: Navy

Rank: Vice Admiral