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John D. Willis


AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Airman's Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Peace Time Awards

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Airman's Medal to Sergeant John D. Willis, United States Air Force, for heroism involving voluntary risk of life at Interstate Highway 880, Oakland, California, from 18 October 1989 through 22 October 1989. On these dates, Sergeant Willis searched and recovered earthquake victims trapped between the collapsed highway system. With complete disregard for his own safety, Sergeant Willis entered the devastated highway system without hesitation, despite the hazard of being crushed by one of the estimated 2,000 aftershocks and persevered in his humanitarian efforts until his mission was accomplished. By his courageous action and humanitarian regard for his fellow man, Sergeant Willis has reflected great credit on himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: October 18 - 22, 1989

Service: Air Force

Rank: Sergeant

Airman's Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in Lieu of a Second Award of the Airman's Medal to Technical Sergeant John D. Willis, United States Air Force, for heroism involving voluntary risk of life at the World Trade Center, New York City, New York, from 14 September 2001 to 27 September 2001. During this time, despite life-threatening conditions in extremely dangerous and unstable collapsed structures and subway tunnels located six stories beneath the World Trade Center facilities, Sergeant Willis continuously placed himself in harm's way, tirelessly searching for survivors of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack. Working deep beneath the wreckage, under constant threat of collapse, fire, secondary explosions, toxic smoke and dust, Sergeant Willis led a Federal Emergency Management Agency search team down six levels of collapsed voids to search a caved-in and flooded portion of the subway system. He also recovered seized narcotics from a collapsed United States Customs evidence vault with an estimated street value of more than two million dollars. In addition, Sergeant Willis assisted the United States Secret Service to recover weapons, sensitive communications equipment, and also discovered over 1.5 million dollars in United States Bearer Bonds and fifty thousand dollars worth of gold jewelry. His heroic efforts directly facilitated the search and recovery of numerous victims of the terrorist attack. By his courageous action and humanitarian regard for his fellow man, Sergeant Willis has reflected great credit on himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: September 14 - 27, 2001

Service: Air Force

Rank: Technical Sergeant