Entry Date: 59

Exit Date: 63


Squad: 21

Status: D: 11/20/2016

“Bruce Willey was born on April 25, 1935 to Bettie and Theodore Willey in Cleveland, Ohio. As a young man in high school, he participated in varsity and intramural sports, was a member of the student council, and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He attended the University of South Carolina on a Naval ROTC scholarship, majored in Mechanical Engineering, and was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

Following graduation, he was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on June 7, 1957 and assigned to the Naval Aviation Training Command. He was designated a Naval Aviator and received his wings on Nov 13, 1957. Assigned to VP-21 flying the P2V-7 aircraft, Bruce became a qualified plane commander participating in numerous exercises including the quarantine of shipping to and from Cuba in October 1962. He was next assigned to the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey California and subsequently to Stanford University to complete the curricula for a Masters degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Upon graduation he reported to VP-9 at Moffett Field, California for training in the P-3 patrol aircraft. During his time there, he participated in several deployments to Adak, Alaska and Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam earning an Air Medal for his time and missions in combat operations in Vietnam. After returning stateside, he was assigned to the U.S. Naval Academy where he taught weapons and systems engineering classes as well as served as an instructor to the Academy’s rifle marksmanship team. He was next assigned to VXE-6 at Quonset Pt., Rhode Island and later Pt. Mugu, California, flying C-130 aircraft equipped with skis for landing on the ice and snow in support of Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica. Following 3 deployments to the “”ice””, he was assigned as the Executive Officer of the Naval Parachute Test Range in El Centro, California. During his tour, he flew several different types of aircraft supporting parachute testing and recovery operations in the California desert. His final assignment was at the Naval Air System Command in Crystal City, Virginia. He retired at the rank of Commander in January, 1980 after proudly serving nearly 23 years of service. His awards include the Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Korea and Cuba, Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal, and the Antarctic Service Medal.

After retiring from the U.S. Navy, Bruce continued to work as a civilian contractor with the Naval Air Systems Command at Crystal City, VA and NAS Patuxent River, MD, working on several electronic warfare and electronic self-protection programs until his permanent retirement in 1991.

In retirement, Bruce continued to remain active in the community, volunteering in the neighborhood watch program, as an AARP tax counselor assisting individuals in completing their tax returns, and working as an election official during local, state, and national elections. He was an avid golfer, active in the Burke Lake Seniors Golf Club, and enjoyed working on his award winning yard and tinkering with his award winning, movie star 1977 Datsun 280Z.

A proud and devoted “”Granddad””, he was an ever-present fan and booster of his grandkids sporting and school events, and as an original Washington Nationals supporter he instilled his enthusiasm into his family creating three generations of fans.

Bruce is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 56 years, Martie; sister Susan “”Bunny”” Shelton; sons, Dale and David; and daughter, Diane. He was a loving grandparent to six grandchildren and one great grandchild.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests that blood be donated to the American Red Cross Society. Those not able to give blood are encouraged to volunteer their time at a blood drive or make a contribution to Navy – Marine Corps Relief Society.

Burial with full military honors will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a time to be determined.