1/Lt. Walter J. Konantz

(Frank Birtciel)

1/Lt. Walter J. Konantz

338th FS - 02 August 1944 - 29 March 1945

Assigned Aircraft

P-51D CL-N
P-51D CL-P 44-14278 "Saturday Night"
P-51D CL-P 44-72296 "Saturday Night" (55th FGA)

Mission History

Flew 64 missions, 294:40 hours

Mission List
55th FG Mission # Date Target
231 11 September 1944 Ruhland
303 06 January 1945 Germersheim
305 13 January 1945 Sweep Bad Nauheim and Mannheim
312 29 January 1945 Kassel
Air Scores
Ground Scores
Score Detail 11 September 1944  Me-109 destroyed (air) S/Meiningen
06 January 1945  Ju-88 destroyed (ground) Giebelstadt
13 January 1945  Me-262 destroyed (air) Giebelstadt
29 January 1945  Me-109 destroyed (air) NE Oldenburg

Walt's dog, Lassie, became the 338th Fighter Squadron mascot.
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ASN - O-824655
02 August 1944 - Joined the 338th Fighter Squadron
15 September 1944 - Awarded the Air Medal
12 October 1944 - Awarded the 1st Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
16 October 1944 - Promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st Lieutenant
23 October 1944 - Awarded the 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
13 January 1945 - Became first 55th FG pilot to shoot down an Me 262 Jet
15 January 1945 - Awarded 5th Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
02 February 1945 - Awarded 6th Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
17 February 1945 - Awarded 7th Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
29 March 1945 - Completed Tour of Duty

Passed away on 03 April 2001

Memories Walter J. Konantz's Obituary

Walter J. Konantz, 79, of Lamar, passed away Tuesday, April 3, 2001 at Barton County Memorial Emergency Room after a short illness. He was born March 7, 1922 in Lamar, Mo., to Carl F. and Marie M. (Markwick) Konantz, who operated the Konantz Funeral Home from 1926 until 1960.
Walter graduated from the Lamar High School in 1940, attended the University of Missouri for two years then entered the United States Army Air Force in 1943 as an aviation cadet. After graduating from advanced flying school in 1944 he was a fighter pilot in the 55th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, based in England. He flew 64 combat missions in the P-51 Mustang, shot down enemy aircraft, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, eleven Air Medals, and three Unit Citations.

He has been a member of the Lamar Airport Board since 1984, a member of the Lamar Methodist Church, member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, member of the OX-5 Aviation Pioneers, a life member of the Antique Airplane Association, member of the 8th Air Force Historical Society, life member and president of the 55th Fighter Group Association, member of the P-51 Mustang Pilots Association, and a member of the F-86 Sabre Pilots Association.

He was married October 20, 1946 to Doris A. Isenmann in Jasper, Mo. He worked three years at the Konantz Funeral Home and recalled to active duty in the Air Force in 1951 and retired as a Major in 1969 with twenty-one years of active duty service in the U.S. Air Force, having served during World War II, Korean Conflict and Vietnam War.

He is survived by his wife, Doris, of the home; a daughter, Deborah Good of Springfield, Mo.; a son, Thomas J. Konantz of Huntsville, Ala.; and four grandsons, Jonathan and Daniel Good of Springfield, Mo., Benjamin and Joshua Konantz of Huntsville, Ala.

He was preceded in death by one grandson, Lt. David T. Good on November 6, 1998; one brother, Harold Konantz; and one sister, Jean Rand.
Additional Photos Publicity photo of (L-R) Walt Konantz and brother Harold Konantz (55th FGA)

Another publicity shot of the Konantz brothers, with Walt's dog, Lassie (L-R) Walt and brother Harold (55th FGA)

Lt. Walter J. Konantz (Frank Birtciel)

Lt. Walter Konantz and Lassie in front of Walt's P-51D "Saturday Night" (R. Abbey)

Lt. Walter Konantz flying the Clobber College's War Weary P-51C "Old Smooth Mouth". (N. Howland)

Lt. Walter J. Konantz and Lassie.  Lassie has a wheel fitted to his broken leg, which was broken when he was hit by a Jeep. (55th FGA)

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