Last surviving WWII Veteran of famous N.D. National Guard unit dies
BISMARCK, N.D. (KVRR) – The last North Dakota National Guard World War II Soldier known to be residing in North Dakota died in Bowman on April 3, just weeks shy of his 97th birthday.
Douglas P. “Doug” Burtell, who served in the famed 164th Infantry Regiment, was the last original member of the unit residing in North Dakota.
Burtell was 16 years old when he joined the North Dakota National Guard in Fargo in late 1940.
Assigned to the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Section of the Infantry Regiment, he was trained to interpret aerial photographs, draw maps based on reconnaissance patrols, and analyze captured materials.
Burtell was one of 1,723 Soldiers of the 164th Infantry Regiment that mobilized in February 1941 for a year of training at Camp Claiborne, La.
Burtell’s regiment was the first U.S. Army unit to offensively engage the enemy when they landed at Guadalcanal on Oct. 13, 1942, to reinforce the 1st Marine Division.