This Military Service Page was created/owned by
Donald Losey (Fallhiker), MM1
Gutenkunst, Douglas Hugo, LTJG.
If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Home Town Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
Last Address Milwaukee, WI
Casualty Date Jun 30, 1944
Cause Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Reason Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Location Pacific Ocean
Conflict World War II
Location of Interment Forest Home Cemetery - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Wall/Plot Coordinates Not Specified
Last Known Activity
Doug was the son of Hugh Arthur Gutenkunst of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Gertrude Agnes Douglas Gutenkunst of Montreal, Canada. The family was living in Owen Sound, Ontario when Doug was born, where his father was a manufacturer.
On January 30, 1944 Lt. Gutenkunst was one of 17 pilots who escorted B-25's in a strike on a supply dump in the Rabaul area. Twenty or thirty Zekes were intercepted on this strike, with two being destroyed and another four reported as being probably destroyed. On this mission one of the F4U's was damaged by fire from a Zeke, but no bombers were lost to enemy aircraft.
Later in the day on January 30th Lt. Gutenkunst was one of 15 pilots who escorted TBF's in a joint SBD-TBF strike on shipping in Simpson Harbor, New Britain. According to an AviationSafetyNetwork accident report, on 30 January 1944, a Vought F4U-1 Corsair piloted by Lt. D. H. Gutenkunst, USNR was part of a VF-17 (Fighting Squadron 17) strike that was hastily arranged involving all readily available torpedo-bombers, dive bombers and fighters from the two Piva airstrips and Torokina. The strike force returned to Bougainville close to dusk after attacking Simpson Harbor.
The heavy concentration of planes caused considerable congestion in the air around the Cape Torokina air strips. Two Corsairs from VF-17 (one being Lt. Gutenkunst) were unable to join the landing pattern at their base and diverted to Piva Uncle. On the final approach to the runway the Corsair collided with an FG-1 from VMF-211 being flown by a seriously wounded pilot making a straight in approach (this was Maj. Robert Lee Hopkins, USMCR - see Find A Grave Memorial #2751112). Both Corsairs were destroyed in the resulting crash and both pilots died.
Lt. Gutenkunst's remains were buried in a grave on Bougainville, and his remains were returned to the States on June 3, 1948 for final burial at the request of his next of kin, which would have been his widowed mother. She was living at 3418 N. Summit Avenue in Milwaukee, which was the home of both Douglas and his mother when he entered the Navy.
Service number: 145737
Distinguished Flying Cross
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Douglas Hugo C. Gutenkunst, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a Fighter Pilot in the Solomon Islands area from 27 October to 1 December 1943, and from 25 January to 30 January 1944. Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Gutenkunst ably assisted his section leader in downing three hostile planes near Bougainville. In a strike on Lakuani airfield he shot down two planes, and destroyed two more in a later attack on Tobira airfield. General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 329 (August 1944) Action Date: October 27, 1943 - January 30, 1944 Service: Navy Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade