Henry Jacob Wuensch was born on April 26, 1908, at Rochester, N.Y. Following graduation from East high School in Rochester, he entered the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Conn., as a cadet on August 14, 1926.
He was graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree and commissioned an Ensign on May 15, 1929. Subsequently he advanced in rank to Lieutenant (jg), May 15, 1931; Lieutenant, May 15, 1933; Lieut. Commander, January 1, 1942; Commander, October 1, 1942; Captain, April 1, 1950; Rear Admiral, February 27, 1960.
Between May 1929 and July 1934, he served, respectively, aboard the Cutter Seneca, the Destroyer Porter, and the Cutter Thetis of the New York Division. (The Porter was one of the old Destroyer Force operated by the Coast Guard between 1924 and 1934 in the suppression of smuggling.) He then served aboard the large ocean-tug Acushnet, based at Norfolk then, as executive officer until November of 1934, when he assumed his first command, the Cutter Vigilant, based at Ft. Pierce, Fla. Detached from this cutter in February 1936, he served first as executive officer and later as commanding officer of the Cutter Nike, based at Pascagoula, Miss.
Transferred to Cleveland, Ohio, in March 1937, he was communications officer in the 9th Coast Guard District office there until December 1940. He then was designated commanding officer of the Cutter Galatea, attached to the Fleet Sound School at Key West, Fla., for the purpose of training Coast Guard Personnel.
From April 1942 to January 1943 of World War II, Rear Admiral Wuensch was executive officer aboard the Cutter Mojave, serving on the Greenland Patrol and convoy escort duty to Newfoundland and Greenland. After that tour of duty he served in the Communications Division at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C., until September 1943. After attending the Submarine Chaser Training Center at Miami, Fla., for a course of instructions, he became commanding officer of the Destroyer Escort USS Calcaterra in October 1943. He commanded this vessel on convoy escort duty out of Hampton Roads, Va., in the North Atlantic and to Mediterranean ports until March 1944.
From April to October 1944, he commanded the Cutter Taney, flagship of Task Force 66 of the Eighth Amphibious Force, on convoy escort duty to Mediterranean ports.
In November 1944, he became Commander of the large infantry landing craft LCI(L) Flotilla 35 of the Pacific fleet. This unit provided logistic support at various western Pacific bases, fire support and smoke vessels at Okinawa, and assisted in mine-sweeping operations at Japan.
Returning to the United States in January 1946, he was assigned as Chief, Aids to Navigation Section, at the 8th Coast Guard District office in New Orleans. While at that post on April 1, 1950, he rose to the rank of Captain. From September 1950 to October 1952, he commanded the Cutter Campbell, based at New York City. He then served in the Office of Personnel at Coast Guard Headquarters until August 1953. At that time he became Chief, Operations Section in the 17th Coast Guard District office at Juneau, Alaska.
In July 1955, he became Chief, Operations Division in the 2nd Coast Guard District office at St. Louis, Mo. The following September he was assigned the additional duty of Chief, Aids to Navigation Section. In February 1956 he was designated Chief of Staff, 2nd Coast Guard District.
In May 1958, he was assigned as Assistant Chief, Office of Personnel at Coast Guard Headquarters. While stationed here on January 27, 1960, he was nominated to the permanent rank of Rear Admiral by the President. The appointment was confirmed by the Senate effective as of February 27, 1960 two weeks after he assumed the flag post of Chief, Office of Personnel at Headquarters. As such he assumed the collateral duty of flag officer in charge of the Coast Guard Reserve, and also became a member of the Armed Forces Reserve Policy Board. He then was designated Commander, 5th Coast Guard District, effective in June 1961, with offices at Portsmouth, Va. (The home office of the district was moved from Norfolk to Portsmouth in April 1961.) That was his last duty station when he retired on July 1, 1964.
RADM Wuensch received the Coast Guard Commendation Medal for meritorious achievement in the performance of his duties as Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District.
Rear Admiral Wuensch’s World War II campaign service medals and ribbons include the following: American Defense Service Medal with clasp; American Area; European-African-Middle Eastern Area with one star; Asiatic-Pacific Area with one star; World War II Victory.
Rear Admiral Wuensch is married to the former Suzanne H. (passed away on May 31, 1973) of New York city, and has one sone and two daughters, Lawrence Wittschen Wuensch, Barbara Ann, Patricia Gail.