Charles Kunz was born on November 7, 1919, in Dixon, Missouri. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on November 15, 1940, and entered the Aviation Cadet Program on February 15, 1941. Kunz was commissioned a 2d Lt in the Marine Corps and designated a Naval Aviator on September 6, 1941, and then completed fighter training at San Diego, California, before joining VMF-221 at Midway in February 1942. Lt Kunz was credited with the destruction of 2 enemy aircraft during the Battle of Midway while flying the F2A-3 Buffalo on June 4, 1942. He was wounded in this action, and joined VMF-224 in Hawaii the same month. Lt Kunz deployed to Guadalcanal in August 1942, and was credited with the destruction of another 6 enemy aircraft in aerial combat flying the F4F-4 Wildcat before returning to the U.S. in November 1942. His next assignment was as a flight instructor at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, from January 1943 to March 1944, followed by Command and Staff School at MCS Quantico, Virginia, from March to June 1944. Maj Kunz next commanded VMF-311 in the Marshall Islands, flying the F4U Corsair, from July 1944 to February 1945, and then served as operations officer for Marine Air Group 31 (MAG-31) from February to August 1945, during the Battle of Okinawa. Col Kunz served with MAG-91 and then MAG-11 in San Diego from October 1945 to May 1947, and then served as commander of VMF-225 at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, from May 1947 to May 1949. His next assignment was on the staff of Headquarters MCAS El Toro, California, from July 1949 to April 1951, followed by service as commander of VMF-323 aboard the escort carrier USS Sicily (CVE-118) during the Korean War from May to September 1951. Col Kunz then served as aviation operations officer for MAG-12 aboard the USS Sicily from September to November 1951, and held a brief command of VMF-214 before returning to the U.S. and serving as commander of the Marine Air Detachment at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, from January 1952 to January 1954. Col Kunz next completed a Joint Operations Course at Norfolk, Virginia, and then served on the staff of Fleet Marine Force Atlantic at NB Norfolk from July 1954 to June 1956. He commanded Marine Air Base Squadron 24 (MABS-24) at MCAS Cherry Point from July 1956 to June 1957, and then served as commanding officer of VMA-533 at Cherry Point from August 1957 to June 1958. Col Kunz next served in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon from July 1958 to November 1960, followed by service as commanding officer of MAG-12 with Fleet Marine Force Pacific stationed at MAS Iwakuni, Japan, from January to October 1961. He then served as Inspector for the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW) at Iwakuni from October 1961 to January 1962. His next assignment was as assistant chief of staff for Headquarters Air of Fleet Marine Force Pacific at MCAS El Toro from February 1962 to July 1965, followed by service with Fleet Marine Force Atlantic at Norfolk from September 1965 until his retirement from the Marine Corps on July 1, 1967. Charles Kunz died on November 12, 1999.
His Navy Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as section leader in Marine Fighting Squadron TWO TWENTY-ONE, during the Battle of Midway Islands on June 4, 1942. While leading his section against bomber and fighter aircraft, vastly superior in numbers, Lieutenant Kunz fearlessly pressed home his attack thereby seriously disrupting the plan of the enemy, lessening the effectiveness of their attack and contributing greatly to their defeat. This pilot is credited with two known victories, two Navy Aichi Type Dive Bombers. The courageous leadership and utter disregard for personal safety, displayed by him in this attack, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the naval service.