Cerro Gordo County

Richard Herman “Dick” Knudson



Dick Knudson Is Missing in Action in Pacific Area

Son of State Senator Served as Turret Gunner in Bomber

Sen. and Mrs. Herman M. Knudson, 24 15th St. S.E., Mason City, had word Wednesday morning from the secretary of the navy office that their sailor son, Dick Knudson, was missing in action in the Pacific.

The Mason City lad, graduate of the local high school in 1940, was turret gunner with a bombing squadron, He entered the Pacific war theater about May 1.

Where the action was from which he reported missing is not indicated in the message received from Washington.

Two brothers are also in the navy service. All have been in the Pacific. Ted, the oldest of the trio is a lieutenant junior grade and Bob, the youngest, is with the seabees.

In May of this year, Dick and Ted had a surprise meeting in Hawaii. Ted, who had been in that vicinity since the first of the year, had a tip that Dick's crew might be arriving and was on the lookout for him.

Dick entered the service on Sept. 2, 1942, After induction and boot camp training at Great Lakes, he was transferred to Memphis for special aviation ordnance training. Later he was assigned to gunnery school at Hollywood, Fla.

After completing the course at Hollywood, he was stationed for a time to Seattle, his next post, he stopped off in Mason City, in August, 1943, for an 18 day leave.

His father is head of the Klipto Looseleaf company. For a number of years he has represented Cerro Gordo county in the lower house of the legislature and in November of this year he was elevated to the senate to represent Franklin, Hancock and Cerro Gordo counties.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, December 27, 1944 (photo included)


Was Reported Missing in Action on Marianas on Dec. 20, 1944

Senator and Mrs. Herman M. Knudson, 24, 15th E, have received a letter from the Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal stating that their son, Dick Knudson, who has been carried on the official records of the navy department as missing in action on Dec. 20, 1944, is presumed to have met his death at this time.

Mr. and Mrs. Knudson at present are visiting thier other 2 sons, Ted and Bob, at Long Beach, Cal.

"In view of the strong probability that the plane on which your son was flying was hit by enemy anti-aircraft and crashed into the water and that he lost his life as a result thereof," read Secretary Forrestal's letter, "because no official nor unconfirmed reports have been received that he survived, because his name has not appeared on any lists or reports or personnel liberated fro Japanese prisoner of war camps, and in view of the length of time that has elapsed since he was reported to be missing in action, I am reluctantly forced in the conclusion that he is deceased.

The letter further went on to say that the date of death was presumed to have occurred on Dec 21. 1945, a year after he was reported missing.

The navy's secretary letter explained that the plane on which Dick was aboard was attached to patrol bombing squadron 159 and had departed from West field, Tinian island, the Marianas, on Dec. 20, 1944 to participate in a search and reconnaissance and bombing flight.

"During a bombing run on the airstrip on Woleaf island, the Carolinas," wrote Forrestal, "the plane crashed into the sea after being hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire over the target. A thorough search of the area by accompanying planes failed to reveal any trace of your son or the plane. To date no further information has been received by the navy department concerning the fate of your son."

Richard Herman Knudson was born at Mason City on July 26, 1921. He attended the Mason City schools and was graduated from high school in 1940 after which he attended junior college one year. In 1941 he enrolled as a strident in horticulture at Iowa State college.

In Aug., 1942 he enlisted in the USNR and received his boot training at Great Lakes. After his training at various points in the states he was sent overseas in 1944. He served in the the Pacific theater as an aerial gunner. At the time he was reported missing he was serving as navigator on the plane.

Dick was a member of the Congregational church and of the Phi Psi fraternity. He was a nature lover, fond of outdoor sports, especially fishing. On graduation from the 8th grade at Roosevelt school he was given the American Legion award for general interest in school activities. He served as manager of the junior college football team.

His brother Ted, a lieutenant in the navy, received his release in January and is now living at Lakewood City, Cal., a suburb of Long Beach. Another brother, Bob, is still in the service with the seabees at San Diego but expects to be discharged this month.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, March 11, 1946 (photo included)

Richard Herman “Dick” Knudson was born July 26, 1921 to Herman and Knudson. He died Dec. 20, 1944 and is memorialized at the First Congregational UCC Columbarium, Mason City, IA.

Richard met death in the Pacific while serving with Patrol Bombing Squadron 159, U.S. Navy in World War II. He is also memorialized at the Courts of the Missing, Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Sources: ancestry.com