Gutenkunst, Douglas Hugo, LTJG

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Last Primary NEC
6302-LDO Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Limited Duty Officer
Primary Unit
1943-1944, 6302, VF-17 Jolly Rogers
Service Years
1942 - 1944
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Lieutenant Junior Grade

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Donald Losey (Fallhiker), MM1 to remember Gutenkunst, Douglas Hugo, LTJG.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
Last Address
Milwaukee, WI

Casualty Date
Jun 30, 1944
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Pacific Ocean
World War II
Location of Interment
Forest Home Cemetery - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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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

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Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)/Treasury-Bougainville operation (1943)
From Month/Year
October / 1943
To Month/Year
December / 1943

The Bougainville campaign (Operation Cherry Blossom) was fought by the Allies in the South Pacific during World War II to regain control of the island of Bougainville from the Japanese forces who had occupied it in 1942. During their occupation the Japanese constructed naval aircraft bases in the north, east, and south of the island; but none in the west. They developed a naval anchorage at Tonolei Harbor near Buin, their largest base, on the southern coastal plain of Bougainville. On the nearby Treasury and Shortland Islands they built airfields, naval bases and anchorages. These bases helped protect Rabaul, the major Japanese garrison and naval base in New Guinea, while allowing continued expansion to the south-east, down the Solomon Islands chain, to Guadalcanal.

The Allied campaign, which had two distinct phases, began on 1 November 1943 and ended on 21 August 1945, with the surrender of the Japanese.

Before the war, Bougainville had been administered as part of the Australian Territory of New Guinea, even though, geographically, Bougainville is part of the Solomon Islands chain. As a result, the campaign is referred to as part of both the New Guinea and the Solomon Islands campaigns.

The Battle of the Treasury Islands was a Second World War battle that took place between 27 October and 12 November 1943[2] on the Treasury Islands group; part of the Solomon Islands as part of the Pacific Theatre. The Allied invasion of the Japanese held island group intended to secure Mono and Stirling Islands so that a radar station could be constructed on the former and the latter be used as a staging area for an assault on Bougainville. The attack on the Treasury Islands would serve the long term allied strategy of isolating Bougainville and Rabaul and the elimination of the 24,000 strong garrison in the area.

The invasion, to be conducted primarily by the New Zealand Army, supported by American forces, was codenamed Operation Goodtime. The New Zealand 8th Infantry Brigade Group, assigned to the United States' I Marine Amphibious Corps, launched the invasion of the Treasury Islands at 06:06 hours on 27 October. 3,795 men landed in the assault wave with the remainder of the Allied force landing in four waves during the following 20 days. The operation was the first amphibious assault launched by New Zealand troops since the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915.

On 1 November the flag was raised over the ruins of Falamae, the islands' capital, and civil administration was restored. Eleven days later the islands were declared clear of Japanese forces; although Japanese holdouts were sighted in the jungles into January 1944.

The operation, in conjunction with Operation Blissful, served to divert the attention of the Japanese Seventeenth Army from the next major Allied target in the Solomon Islands campaign. The success of the operation also helped to improve the planning of subsequent landings in the Pacific.
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Month/Year
October / 1943
To Month/Year
December / 1943
Last Updated:
Mar 16, 2020
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