LIEUT. R. M. WILDE, Virginia '40
CAPT. J. L. DUFRANE, Oregon State '33
for bravery by General
Phis Awarded D.S.C.s Posthumously
WARDS of Distinguished Service
Crosses have been conferred posthumously by General Douglas MacArthur on two young Phis for their magnificent exploits of bravery in the skies
over the South Pacific theater of war.
They were Lieutenant Robert Michael
Wilde, Virginia '40, and Captain Jack
Louis DuFrane, Oregon State '32,
both of whom died in the performance
of feats so heroic they brought from General MacArthur the highest recognition
in his power to bestow.
Lieutenant Wilde lost his life when, in
the face of certain death, he chose to go
to the aid of his flight commander in an
attack by enemy planes over Port Moresby in New Guinea. The official citation
"A flight of fighters, of which Wilde
was a member, was ordered to patrol the
"The flight had been in the air one
and one-half hours when several enemy
fighters were reported to be within sight
of the field. Our planes were nearly 20
miles from the airdrome at this time and
had only a limited supply of gasoline
with which to return to base. After it had
proceeded about 10 miles the flight was
intercepted by the enemy planes.
"Suddenly an enemy fighter came from
below and in front of the flight commander, flipped back and was on the
rear of his plane in an instant.
"Wilde was the only member of the
flight who was near enough to appreciate
what was happening. This allowed only
two toflyto the field with
barely enough gasoline to make it or to
engage the enemy fighter, using up his
gasoline and having no chance of getting back to his base.
"Unhesitatingly, he chose to go to the
assistance of his commander and shot
down the enemy in flames. [Two other
Zeros took after him, killed him over the
mountains beyond Moresby.] By his
heroic action- he saved a fellow officer's
life, but in so doing lost his own."