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Douglas V. Guentz

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Douglas V. Guentz Obituary
Maj. Douglas V

Guentz, USAR (Ret.)


Major Douglas V Guentz, USAR (Ret.), Artillery, age 82, of Milton, Florida, died Saturday, March 8, 2014.

He was born July 26, 1931, in Winona, Minnesota, the first of three sons to Douglas Vernon and Beatrice Loeding Guentz. Douglas was enrolled in the local public schools there until early 1947 when the family relocated. The gentle discipline, curriculum and teachers the Winona school system provided were the foundation on which he developed his civilian and military career paths. Boy Scout, Troop Six, organized and supported by the Central Methodist Church, were the cornerstone of his early maturation. He achieved the grade of Eagle, Bronze Palm, and was elected to the Order of the Arrow by his peers.

Survivors include his loyal spouse, best friend and companion in life for 55 years, B. June Usher Guentz, widowed sister-in-law, Billie Yargus Guentz of Lynnwood, Washington, and her offspring Mrs. April D. Ebert and family, Everett, Washington, Holly M. Guentz, Seattle, Washington, and Matthew R. Guentz and son, of Arlington, Washington. Brother and sister-in-law, Gerald Lee and Joan Carpenter Guentz of LaCrescent, Minnsesota, their offspring and families, Gerald A. and Kathy E. Guentz, Onalaska, Wisconsin, Timothy L. and Joan Guentz and family, South Sioux City, Nebraska, Mrs. Carrie Jo Hoffman and husband, Al and family, Henderson, Nevada, Mrs. Suzan K. Hanson and family of LaCrescent, Minnesota and Daniel T. Guentz and daughter, Dodgeville, Wisconsin. Younger brother, John L. Guentz, Billie's husband, predeceased Douglas in 1999.

Douglas enlisted in the U.S. Army during 1948. He served as a jumpmaster instructor with the 11th Airborne Division at Camp Campbell, Kentucky. He was later assigned to the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team tactically engaged on the Chorwon-Kumwha main line of resistance in North Korea during 1952 and with whom he served through to the ceasefire arrangements at Panmunjom. He was commissioned as an Artillery Officer during 1956. Douglas was a member of the original U.S. Army Rifle Team competing for the National Trophy, winning that award for the U.S. Army at Camp Perry, Ohio, in 1957. Stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia with the U.S. Army's Advanced Marksmanship Unit, Douglas found a Georgia peach, his life's mate, June. They were married May 9, 1958 and life's adventures commenced in a wonderful way for Douglas with June at his side. A military life-style pleased them both.

He completed primary fixed-wing flight training at Camp Gary, Texas, during 1958 and rotary-wing primary at Camp Wolters, Texas, during 1960. After serving three years as a surveillance pilot with the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment at the border between (then) West and East Germany, Douglas and June returned to Ft. Benning where he participated in the tactical evaluation and testing of the U.S. Army's OV-1 Grumman Mohawk, a twin turbo-prop fixed-wing aircraft. He was the unit's intermediate-altitude Instructor pilot and flew the first in-flight refueling evaluations for the Mohawk. He was also an air-to-ground gunnery instructor pilot as well as his unit's Instrument instructor pilot. Douglas later served two combat tours of duty in Viet Nam flying in excess of seven hundred combat assault-flying hours as a helicopter gunship platoon commander with the First Air Cavalry Division. Significant actions participated in were the assaults on the Ia Drang River Valley supporting the First and Second Squadrons, Seventh Cavalry Regiment and later was involved in precipitous actions during the Bong Son campaigns escorting the troop-bearing helicopters of the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion. During his second VN tour, Maj. Guentz served as Plans and Operations Officer for Aviation, G-3, XXIV U.S. Army Corps. Completing twenty-one years of service, he retired from the army and returned home to Florida during 1969. His decorations are the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with twenty-two (22) OLC and the Army Commendation Medal. He is authorized six campaign stars for his combat service. Certifications include the Senior Army Aviator Wings, Master Parachutist Wings, Glider Wings and the first and second leg awards to the Distinguished Marksman (Rifle) Badge. Unit citation awards earned during combat operations are the Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Unit Citation, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the Republic of Viet Nam PUC and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm.

Douglas and June resided in Destin, Florida, for twenty-seven years prior to relocation to Milton. In Destin, they were active in community and civic affairs. He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida, with a B.S. in Aeronautical Sciences, Cum Laude, and attained a B.A. in Accounting at the University of West Florida, at Pensacola. He was a licensed U.S. Coast Guard Sailing Master for passenger-carrying vessels, any ocean, and was a self-employed charter sailing vessel operator and practicing celestial navigation instructor sailing in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and the Indian Ocean. He was a member of the National Rifle Association, the Escambia River Muzzle-loaders Association, and Robertson/Dent's Florida Battery (Civil War re-enactment). His amateur radio-sending key, now silent, N4RIV.

In keeping with Douglas' wishes he will be cremated and a memorial service will be held at a later date.

National Cremation & Burial Society of Milton has been entrusted with the arrangements.

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Published in Pensacola News Journal on Mar. 12, 2014
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