Bernie V. Guthrie was born to John A. and Farol V. Guthrie on December 18, 1915. He had three brothers and a sister. He spent his early childhood growing up in Murdo, South Dakota, and attended schools in Iowa and South Dakota. Bernie gained his masters degree at Iowa City University. Bernie then went on to be a professor of mathematics at Brookings State College.
On October 6, 1941, Bernie Guthrie entered active service at March Field in California, as a first lieutenant through the ROTC program. He was then trained at Santa Ana along with other bases including Williams Field, Arizona, where Bernie earned his flying wings. He went overseas to England on September 5, 1943 with the rank of Captain and fought in over fifty engagements, many of which resulted in “narrow escapes.”
Captain Guthrie perished over enemy territory on April 22, 1944 when his plane was destroyed. Out of the squadron, only one pilot was said to return that day. When the pilot talked to Capt. Guthrie’s brother, he gave this account:
We accompanied the bombers over Hamm and the Mustangs were supposed
to pick them up but were late. We were attacked by a big force of Germans
and were so badly outnumbered that it was pitiful. The last I heard from Bernie
was when he called me on the intercom saying that Lieutenant Stanton was in
trouble and that he was going down to help him and for me to keep the boys
together. I saw Stanton with two Germans on his tail and I saw Bernie get
one German plane. Just then we were hit by another big flight of Germans.
That was the last I saw of either Capt. Guthrie or Lieut. Stanton. Captain Guthrie
had a reputation for bringing back his planes having brought back five so badly
shot they were never repaired. He brought back a plane on only one motor from
over Germany – a distance of 565 miles.
Bernie was originally buried in Hamm, Germany, but it is believed his remains were returned to the United States after the war. Among other medals and decorations, Captain Guthrie had earned the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the coveted Distinguished Flying Cross, which he received “for extraordinary achievement in combat missions over occupied Europe.”
This entry is respectfully submitted by Jeremy Hoffman, 11th grader at Stevens High School, Rapid City, South Dakota, March 25, 2002. Information for this entry was provided by The Murdo Coyote, Murdo, South Dakota.
Where can I find information about Bernie v. Guthrie, or does anyone a lengthy biography handy?
We need as much information as possible.
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