North Stonington - Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.) Charles "Chuck" Keutman, 91, died on Oct. 16, 2016, in North Stonington. He was born in New York City on March 16, 1925, to the late Charles and Josephine (Graf) Keutman. He entered bombardier training in the Army Air Corps in April 1943. After completing his training in April 1944, Charles was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. and assigned to a B -24-bombardment group in Italy. On Sept. 13, 1944, on his ninth mission, he was shot down while on a bombing strike to destroy an oil refinery in Auschwitz, Poland. He spent nine months as a POW in Stalag 1 in northern Germany. He returned to the U.S. on the Queen Elizabeth. After the war, a monument to commemorate the crew was dedicated by the Polish citizens in Jelesnia, a town near the crash site. On Sept. 9, 2014, Charles Keutman and wife, Gerry, daughter, Kristi Williams, grandson, Joshua Williams and his girlfriend, Jenny Leach, flew to Krakow, Poland, and then to Jelesnia, a small town two hours away, to attend an impressive ceremony commemorating the crash of the airplane, a B24 named Dinah-might, 70 years ago. Continuing on active duty after the war, he completed training at the USAF Bombardment School in 1948 and was awarded the aeronautical rating of Bombardier-Navigator–Radar operator. He flew on B-29, Superfortress aircrews until 1951 when he entered the USAF pilot training program, graduating in 1952. On graduating pilot training, he became one of the few USAF officers to attain the four aeronautical ratings. He was assigned to crew duty as pilot on RB-36 bombers and later B-47 Stratojets. In 1958, Chuck was accepted into a USAF college education program. After a two-year study at the University of Colorado, he received a BS and a MS in business management. Following graduation he was assigned to supply officer duties in Idaho, Vietnam, and South Carolina. In 1965, he was awarded the prestigious USAF Supply Officer of the Year award. His last assignment was to the Directorate of Studies and Analysis at the Pentagon where he participated in USAF studies concerning force-level aircraft requirements. The last two years of his assignment were at the USN Center of Naval Analysis as USAF liaison officer to its strategic studies. He retired in September, 1969, after 27 years of active duty. He had attained the rank of Lt. Col. and held the aeronautical ratings of Command Pilot and Senior Navigator with a total 5300 hours of flying time. Following retirement from the Air Force, Chuck was employed by companies in the defense industry in Texas and Connecticut. In 1971, he and his family became residents of North Stonington, where he served on the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Permanent School Planning and Building committee. He is survived by his wife, Gerry; daughters, Kristi Williams and her husband, Maurice, and Lisa Keutman; and four grandsons, Joshua and Justin Williams, Alec and Zachary Hartzell. Sisters, Elizabeth Buckner, Dorothy Johnson, Loretta Fitzpatrick, Hazel Bray; and an infant son predeceased him. More information about his military life and genealogy can be found on the following web site: https://sites.google.com/a/une.edu/charles-keutman-pow/ A Memorial Service with full military honors will be announced at a later date. Remembrances/condolences to the family may be sent to http://www.dinotofuneral.com in historic downtown Mystic. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the First Baptist Church, 793 Pendleton Hill Road, North Stonington, CT 06359.
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