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Model Name: USS JOHN WILLIS (DE-1027)

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USS John Willis (DE-1027) was a Dealey-class destroyer escort in the United States Navy. She was named for John Harlan Willis, a navy hospital corpsman who at Iwo Jima was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

The John Willis was launched by the New York Shipbuilding Company of Camden, New Jersey on 4 February 1956, and was sponsored by Mrs. Winfrey M. Duke, widow of John Willis. She was commissioned at Philadelphia Naval Yard on 21 February 1957, Lt. Comdr. H. O. Anson, Jr., in command.

John Willis reported to Newport, R.I., 7 April for duty with the Atlantic Fleet. Following two months of shakedown along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean, she departed Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 7 June for a five-week cruise to Northern Europe that carried her to Dutch, German, and Danish ports on the North and Baltic Seas. Upon her return to Newport 14 July, she commenced 10 months of ASW exercises along the Atlantic coast in preparation for deployment with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.

On 29 November she entered the New York Shipyard to receive an experimental model of the Variable Depth Sonar (VDS) and thus became the first of the destroyer escorts to employ this latest development in ASW equipment. Resuming her operations 4 February 1959, she spent the remainder of 1959 and the early part of 1960 testing and evaluating the new equipment and conducting ASW exercises along the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland to Key West. Following a demonstration of the VDS for the Second Inter-American Naval Conference at Key West in late May, John Willis joined the Atlantic Fleet for four months of American and NATO Operations "Sea Spray" and "Sword Thrust," in the North Atlantic. She retired to Plymouth, England, 2 October but on the 10th rejoined the NATO forces for Exercise "Pipe Down."
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Destroyer Escorts