In Memory of
Navy Av. Fire Con.
Otto Anthony Bunkers
Dell Rapids, South Dakota
February 26, 1925 -- July 18, 1945
Killed in Action off the Coast of China
Otto A. Bunkers was one of seven children born to Mr. and Mrs. Emil Bunkers.
He was born on February 26,1925, in Dell Rapids, South Dakota. Raised on a farm
with five brothers: Melvin, Vincent, Yvo, Terry, Harold; and one sister, Lois,
Otto was very active in all school activities. He was a member of the
basketball team and belonged to the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin. According
to his obituary, Otto was “industrious, and extremely conscientious,” well liked
by students and teachers. He gradated from St. Mary’s Academy in 1943, after
entering the service, but was able to graduate by taking additional work. His
mother received his diploma for him at the graduation ceremony.
At 17, Otto joined the Navy in December of 1942, and later was assigned to
the Navy Air Corps, training as a bombardier at Great Lakes Naval Training
Station, Illinois, Jacksonville, Florida, and Memphis, Tennessee. Before
shipping out to the Pacific theater, Navy Seaman 2-C was granted leave,
returning home to Dell Rapids briefly.
After commencing active duty on November 8, 1944, and “having seen
considerable action in the Pacific,” Bunkers was promoted to Seaman 1-C. On July
18, 1945, Navy Av. Fire Con. Otto A. Bunkers was killed off the coast of China.
He had taken off about 6 a.m. in company with another plane
on patrol off the China coast.
About 10 a.m. they circled an enemy ship to investigate it. Suddenly the ship
opened fire. The
plane was hit, beginning to lose altitude, and finally crashed. Seven crew
members somehow got
out. Otto and six others were lost when the plane broke in two and sank in
less than a minute.
Navy Av. Fire Con. Otto A. Bunkers’ memorial service was held at St. Mary’s
Church in Dell Rapids, South Dakota, on September 27, 1945. Otto A. Bunkers
received the Purple Heart for “military merit and for wounds received in
action.” His name is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American
Cemetery. Otto’s surviving family members are Melvin, Vincent, Yvo, Terry, and
Lois (Bunkers) Schwebach.
This entry was respectfully
submitted by Amber Ginter, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School,
Spearfish, South Dakota, November 21, 2000. Information for this entry was
provided by Mrs. Lois Schwebach, Dell Rapids, South Dakota, sister of Navy Av.
Fire Con. Otto A. Bunkers.