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     After the adjourment of the Machine Gun Board, Capt. Willis was sent by the government authorities to Buffalo, Boston, and New York to inspect aeroplane factories.
     In August, 1917, he was commissioned by President Wilson as Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Signal Corps, and in February, 1918, as Major of Infantry.
     In December, 1913, he received from the War Department a Military Aviator's Certificate and in February, 1914, an Expert Aviator's Certificate from the Aero Club of America.
     The last week in October, 1917, Colonel Willis traveled from New York to Simpsonville to say goodbye to his home people. He spent only one night at home, and then returned to New York. He sailed for France, October 29, 1917.
     The last letter he wrote home was dated August 25, 1918 - nineteen days before he lost his life. In that letter he said he had recently spent the night in a dugout about one humdred yards from the German trenches, and the next morning, some time before daylight, he witnessed a terrific bombardment of a German position by the Americans preparatory to their making a charge on the enemy. He said he was disappointed in not being allowed to accompany the attackers.
     After braving many dangers in a military career of almost ten years, he lost his life by accidental discharge of a pistol at the front near the city of Remiremont, Vosges, France, on September 13, just six days after his thirty-second birthday. He was buried with military honors in the cemetery at Remiremont.
     As a boy at home and as a soldier in the service of his country, he was the impersonation of honor and integrity. He was always very solicitous for the comfort and happiness oif those about him, especially his home people. In the fall of 1916, he had, entirely at his own expense, set out on his Father's little farm at Simpsonville, quite an orchard of peaches, apples, pecans, etc. His parents believe that his idea for doing that was, he thought the fruit might be of help to them in their old age. He was very interested in the education of his two youngest sisters. In one of the last letters he wrote home, he told his Father that whenever he needed money he must draw on his bank, which he had directed to honor his Father's drafts. For more than a year before his death, he made a monthly allotment to his parents of an amount quite sufficient to supply their ordinary needs.
     Just about two weeks previous to this awful tragedy of his death, Col. Willis was ordered by Gen. Pershing to report at the Headquarters of the Seventh Army Corps as Chief of Air Service.
     The following is a copy of a letter received from Gen. Pershing to Col. Willis' Father:


Mr. Robert H. Willis

Simpsonville, South Carolina

Dear Mr. Willis:
Washington, D.C.

August 17, 1920

       I have your letter of July 20th, regarding your son Lieutenant Colonel Robert H. Willis, Jr., who lost his life during the World War.

     I knew this young officer as a member of the small group of aviators on duty with the American Punitive Expedition in Mexico, where I had ample opportunity to observe his work. Being imbued with the ideals of the true soldier, his service was in keeping with the high standards of our army, and I was pleased to have him as a member of the flying corps in France. Colonel Willis was a man of pleasing personality and an officer in whose ability I had the greatest confidence and I was deeply grieved to learn of his untimely death.

     With Sincerest sympathy in your great loss, believe me.

Sincerely yours,

John J. Pershing

  Editor's Note: This article was shared with us through the courtesy of his nephew, John Moore.  

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