The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the NAVY CROSS to
PRIVATE FIRST CLAS WILLARD D. DARLING
U.S. MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Willard D. Darling (284552), Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, for exceptional courage, presence of mind, and devotion to duty and disregard for his personal safety while serving on board the U.S.S. OKLAHOMA (BB-37) during the Japanese attack on the United States Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on 7 December 1941. While being evacuated from the U.S.S. OKLAHOMA in a motor launch, upon seeing an officer in the water too weak to swim and apparently drowning, Corporal Darling dove from the motor launch, swam to the officer and kept him afloat until another motor launch which he hailed picked them up. Upon being left alone in the motor launch with this officer, in the vicinity of a dredge pipe line in the harbor, where the crew abandoned the motor launch, he jumped into the water and directed the officer to follow him, which he (the officer) did. However, the officer was too exhausted to swim and was brought ashore by Corporal Darling. The action of Corporal Darling, in the face of the severe enemy bombing and strafing which continued throughout the time he was effecting this rescue, is considered most praiseworthy and in accordance with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Born: 16 December 1918 in Wilson, Okla…. Home of record: Wilson, Okla…. Wounded on 11 November 1942 while serving with Company E, 2d Marine Raider Battalion… Also served during the Korean War, ultimately reaching rank of master sergeant… Departed 29 October 1976… Interred: Woodlawn Park Cemetery South in Miami, Fla.