Quick Search
359th Knutzen Crew
Owen A. Knutzen, Pilot
 Home About Us Contact Us Donate Newsletter 8th AFHS Links FAQ Facebook Search
 Personnel Aircraft Nose Art B-17 Thunderbird Ground Support Uniforms Journals More Info
 Mission Reports Combat Crews Individual Photos Photos POW KIA MACR Overseas Graves TAPS


OWEN A. KNUTZEN CREW - 359th BS
(crew assigned 359BS: 22 November 1944 - photo: 4 Dec 1944)

(Back L-R) T/Sgt Michael Klym (E), 1Lt LeRoy P. Christenson (N),
2Lt Hower E. Bitler, Jr. (CP/P), 1Lt Owen A. Knutzen (P)

(Front L-R) T/Sgt Alexander Hartmann (TG/WG), T/Sgt Andrew K. Jobe, Jr. (R),
S/Sgt Jerome W. Fogle, Jr. (Tog/WG), S/Sgt Christopher Tarnava (WG)(POW),
S/Sgt Jack B. Kennedy (BTG/TG)

Ranks and grades at time of last combat mission

Thirty-four credited combat missions flown by 1Lt Owen A. Knutzen:
282 (4 Dec 44), 283, 285, 287, 288, 290, 291, 293, 295 (1 Jan 45), 296, 301, 303, 304, 309, 322 (3 Feb 45), 313, 316, 320, 327 (1 March 45), 331, 339, 353 (6 Apr 45), 357 (10 Apr 45). For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions.

Fourteen B-17Gs flown by 1Lt Owen A. Knutzen on his 34 credited combat missions:

  • 44-6309 (P) Duchess' Granddaughter (359BS) BN-T - Missions 290, 301
  • 42-97944 Daddy's Delight (359BS) BN-I - Mission 295
  • 42-97058 Scorchy II (359BS) BN-V - Mission 296
  • 44-8256 Yankee Girl (PFF) (359BS) BN-Y - Mission 304
  • 43-37537 Queen of Hearts (PFF) (359BS) BN-Q - Mission 316
  • 43-38767 (No name) (359BS) BN-L - Missions 282, 283, 285, 287, 288, 289
  • 43-38682 (No name) (359BS) BN-K - Mission 291
  • 43-38645 (No name) (359BS) BN-B - Mission 293
  • 43-38619 (No name) (359BS) BN-A - Mission 311
  • 44-8351 (No name) (PFF) (358BS) VK-Z - Missions 303, 309, 313
  • 44-8475 (No name) (PFF) (427BS) GN-X - Mission 320
  • 44-8552 (No name) (PFF) (360BS) PU-X - Mission 327
  • 44-8564 (No name) (PFF) (359BS) BN-Z - Missions 331, 339, 353
  • 44-8869 (No name) (PFF) (427BS) GN-W - Mission 357
Crew Notes:
  • 1Lt Owen A. Knutzen (P) - First mission (282) flown with combat orientation CoPilot 2Lt Harold L. Fravel. 12 missions flown as First Pilot (282, 283, 285, 287, 288, 299, 290, 291, 293, 295, 296, 301; 5 mission flown as a Lead Crew CoPilot (303, 304, 309, 316, 320); 7 missions flown as a Lead Crew First Pilot (311, 313, 327, 331, 339, 353, 357). Completed 34 credited missions on 10 April 1945 (Mission 357).
  • 2Lt Hower E. Bitler, Jr. (CP/P) - 35 credited missions flown: 13 with 1Lt Knutzen (283, 285, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 293, 295, 296, 301, 311, 313; As Co Pilot with other Pilots - 11 with 2Lt Harold L. Fravel (315, 316, 318, 319, 320, 322, 323, 328, 329, 336, 339); 7 with other Pilots (309, 340 (Lead Crew), 341, 343, 349 (Aborted). Upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on orders dated 20 March 1945. Flew on 3 missions as First Pilot (347, 348, 352). Combat tour (35 missions) completed on 5 April 1945 (Mission 352).
  • 1Lt LeRoy P. Christenson (N) - 32 credited missions flown: 12 With 1Lt Knutzen (283, 285, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 295, 311 (Lead Crew) and 313 (Lead Crew); 16 with other Pilots (292, 296, 297, 303, 304, 324, 316, 318, 320, 321, 322, 323 ,328, 329, 332, 336); 4 as a Lead Crew Navigator (337, 350, 354, 363). Combat tour (32 missions) completed on 20 April 1945 (Mission 363).
  • S/Sgt Jerome W. Fogle, Jr. (Togglier/WG) - 36 credited missions flown: 11 with 1Lt Knutzen (282, 283, 285, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 293, 295, 296); 25 with other Pilots - 7 With 2Lt Harold L. Fravel (315, 318, 320, 322, 323, 329, 339); 18 with other Pilots (305, 310, 311, 313, 314, 317, 319, 321, 337, 341, 343, 344, 345, 347, 348, 349, 351, 353(As Waist Gunner). Combat tour (36 missions) completed on 6 April 1945 (Mission 353).
  • T/Sgt Michael Klym (E) - 31 credited missions flown: 17 with 1Lt Knutzen (282, 283, 285, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 293, 295, 296, 301, 311(LC), 313(LC), 318(LC), 353(LC), 357 (LC); 10 with 2Lt Harold L. Fravel (315, 316, 318, 319, 320, 322, 323,.328, 329, 326), 5 with other Pilots (348, 349, 358 (Non credited Scouter B-17 mission), 360(LC), 361(LC). Combat tour (31 missions) completed on 6 April 1945 (Mission 361).
  • T/Sgt Andrew K. Jobe, Jr. (R) - 30 Missions flown: 18 with 1Lt Knutzen (282, 283, 285, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 293, 295, 296, 301, 311, 313, 329, 339, 353, 357); 7 with 2Lt Harold L. Fravel (315, 316, 318, 322, 323, 329, 336; 5 with other Pilots (341, 348, 353(LC), 356, 358(LC). Combat tour (30 missions) completed on 11 April 1945 (Mission 358).
  • S/Sgt Jack B. Kennedy (BTG/TG) - 32 credited missions Flown: 16 with 1Lt Knutzen (As BTG - 282, 283, 285, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 293, 295, 296, 301, 311, 313, As TG (353, 357); 11 with 2Lt Harold L. Fravel (315, 316, 318, 319, 320, 322, 323, 328, 329, 336, 339); 6 with other Pilots (341, 343, 348, 349 (No credit aborted), 352, 358. Combat tour (32 missions) completed on 11 April 1945 (Mission 358).
  • S/Sgt Christopher Tarnava (WG)(POW) - 13 credited missions flown: 11 with 1Lt Knutzen (282, 283, 285, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 293, 295, 296). 2 with other pilots (284, 300). Became a POW on 01 Oct 1944 (Mission 300), in B-17G 44-6502 (No name) (359BS) BN-G, 1Lt Cecil J. Gates, Pilot. (2 KIA,3 POW, 5 evaded capture, returned). For POW mission details see .
  • T/Sgt Alexander Hartmann (TG/WG) - 35 credited missions flown: 16 with 1Lt Knutzen - As Tail Gunner 282, 283, 285, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 293, 295, 296, 301, 311, 313, Waist Gunner (303, 357); 11 with 2Lt Harold L. Fravel (315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 322, 323, 328, 329, 336); 8 with other pilots (337 (LC), 339 (As WG), 343, 344, 346, 349(LC), 356(LC), 358 (Non credited Scouter B-17 mission). Combat tour (35 missions) completed on 10 April 1945 (Mission 357).
    NOTE: (LC) - Lead crew mission

[photo courtesy of LeRoy P. Christenson]
[Researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus]