Richard Willetts, died last week at the age of 95. He was one of three remaining WWII veterans in Monroe County.
Willetts had a career in the U.S. Post Office, but he was best known for his acrobatic stunt flying and his bright yellow airplane. Ironically, he never flew in WWII.
Willetts entered the enlisted reserve while he was still in high school and already started flying small planes before he joined the Army when he turned 18 on April 8, 1945, two days before the surrender of Germany.
The Army closed its Air Cadet program which effectively grounded Willetts.
Instead, he served as a crew chief for a P-51 and started working with military jet fighters in March of 1946. He was part of the occupation force in Europe and returned home in November of 1946.
Flying became Willetts’ passion and he was still flying as he neared his 90th birthday.
A full obituary is in today’s newspaper.