Fred Bakutis was born on November 4, 1912, in Brockton, Massachusetts. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy on June 16, 1931, and graduated with a commission as an Ensign on June 6, 1935. His first assignment was aboard the heavy cruiser USS Chester (CA-27) from June 1935 to January 1938, followed by flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida. LT Bakutis was designated a Naval Aviator on January 10, 1939, and then served with VS-3 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3) from March 1939 to September 1941. He next attended Postgraduate School at the U.S. Naval Academy from September 1941 to February 1942, followed by service as an inspector at the Naval Aircraft Factory at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard from March to September 1942. CDR Bakutis served as Executive Officer of VF-16 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-16) from September 1942 to September 1943, followed by service as Commander of VF-20 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) from September 1943 to March 1945. During this time, he was credited with the destruction of 7.5 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 2 damaged. Capt Bakutis served at the Bureau of Aeronautics from March 1945 to June 1947, and then served as Commander of CVG-5 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Tarawa (CV-40) from June 1947 to June 1948. His next assignment was as Commander of CVG-1 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge (CV-45) from June 1948 to February 1949. He next attended the Naval War College and after graduating in June 1950, he served on the faculty staff until June 1952. He served as Executive Officer of USS Valley Forge from June 1952 to June 1953, and then served on the staff of the Commander Naval Air Force, Pacific Fleet, until June 1955. His next assignment was on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations from June 1955 to July 1956, followed by service as Commanding Officer of the seaplane tender USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39) from July 1956 to April 1957. Capt Bakutis served on the staff of the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, from April 1957 to December 1959, and then served as Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier USS Hancock (CV-19) from January to December 1960. He served as Assistant Director of the Fleet Operations Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations from January to July 1961, and then served as Deputy Chief of the Joint Alternate Command Element of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from July 1961 to March 1962. ADM Bakutis was Commander, Alaskan Sea Frontier, from March 1962 to March 1964, followed by service as Commander, Naval Coastal Warfare Group One from March 1964 to March 1965. His next assignment was as Commander, Support Force Antarctica, from April 1965 to February 1967, and then as Commander, Fleet Air Alameda, at NAS Alameda, California, from April 1967 to March 1968. ADM Bakutis next served as Commander, Fleet Air Hawaii, from March to July 1968, followed by service as Commander, Hawaiian Sea Frontier, from July 1968 until his retirement from the Navy on July 1, 1969.
His Navy Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism as Pilot of a Fighter Plane and Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron TWENTY, attached to the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle for Leyte Gulf, on October 24, 1944. Aggressively leading a small search group on a strike against an enemy task force, Commander Bakutis succeeded in locating the concentration of hostile vessels and immediately reported the location to his base. Then, launching a brilliant attack on the Japanese ships, he fought his plane gallantly in the face of a withering barrage of accurate antiaircraft fire and gunfire from the enemy's main batteries, personally scoring direct hits with his rockets on a battleship and contributing in large measure to the damaging of one cruiser and two other battleships during this fierce action. By his forceful leadership and outstanding tactical ability, Commander Bakutis was in large measure responsible for the neutralization of Japanese surface forces in this strategic area and his unwavering devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.