Belmont Village Artist Stories Willis

Andrew “Fred” Willis: Artist in Residence

Vocalist and Radio Program Director
Belmont Village Memphis

Fred Willis, a World War II veteran in the U.S. Marine Corps, credits his service in the Pacific as the inspiration for his musical recording career. “I had been stationed on Iwo Jima for 26 days before leaving on a ship for Hawaii to plan the invasion of Japan,” Willis recalls. “The commanding officers decided to do a talent show aboard ship. It was a revelation to stand before 2,000 marines who had just completed one of the most historic missions in the war. You can compare the performance that day with a performance in New York or a Hollywood movie, but neither could hold a candle to the moment when I received a standing ovation from these great men.”

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