Lieutenant Colonel Harold William Bauer Was A Real Hero
Lieutenant Colonel Harold William Bauer, commonly referred to as "Joe" Bauer, (November 20, 1908 – November 14, 1942) was a United States Marine Corps air group commander and fighter pilot ace credited with destroying 11 Japanese aircraft during World War II.
And he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor along with other medals for his actions as a fighter squadron commander during the crucial struggle for the control of the Solomons at the Battle of Guadalcanal.
Harold William Bauer was born in Woodruff, Kansas on November 20, 1908 and grew up in North Platte, Nebraska and he was the son of Volga German immigrants and had two brothers and two sisters.
In high school, he played football, track and baseball.
His Early Military Career
Bauer entered the Naval Academy in 1926 and was appointed a Marine second lieutenant upon graduation in 1930.
He attended the Officers Basic School at Quantico, Virginia and was then assigned as a company officer with the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines at Quantico, and in 1932, he was promoted to first lieutenant on May 29, 1934.
Harold W. Bauer In Hawaii
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Bauer and VMF-221 were transported to Hawaii and were slated to reinforce Wake Island, but they were diverted to Midway soon after Wake fell.
After being transferred to Hawaii in February 1942, Bauer took command of the Marine Fighting Squadron Two Eleven, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, and on March 1, 1942 he was commissioned and took command of Marine Fighting Squadron Two Twelve (VMF-212).
He was later promoted to major on April 29, 1942.
Why Bauer Received His Awards And Recognition
1) On September 28, 1942, Bauer performed the first feat cited for the Medal of Honor. His squadron was attacked by a superior force of Japanese planes but he engaged the enemy and shot down one of their bombers.
2) Again, attacking a superior force on October 3, he shot down four of the enemy and left a fifth badly damaged.
3) While leading a reinforcement flight on October 16, from Spirit Santo, Vanuatu to Guadalcanal, 600 miles away, Bauer was about to land at Enders Field when he noticed a squadron of Japanese planes attacking the USS Macaroon (DD-237) offshore. Though the long flight from Spirit Santo had almost exhausted his fuel and he knew no friendly planes were able to assist him, he immediately proceeded alone to attack the enemy and succeeded in destroying four of them before lack of gasoline forced him to return to Enders Field.
On November 14, he was shot down over water after downing two enemy aircraft in an attack 100 miles (160 km) off Guadalcanal. He was seen in the water in his Mae West water flotation device as light was fading and did not appear to be seriously hurt.
A Hero That Went MOA Missing In Action
The following morning after he was shot down, began days of intense searching by planes and Russell Island natives, but no further trace of him was found!
What Did Bauer’s Squadron Achieve?
The squadron under Bauer’s command at Guadalcanal was officially credited with downing ninety Japanese planes and helping to sink two destroyers.
Lieutenant Colonel Bauer was commended for his action in the South Pacific by commanders of Army, Navy and Marine Corps units including Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., then Commander of the South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force.
And Bauerfield International Airport in Port Vila, Vanuatu is named in his honor.
Please Consider – What Is A Hero?
So many words similar to, "hero" are being diminished today, including Holocaust, Apartheid and Genocide etc.
Bauer’s Medals And Decorations Include:
Medal of Honor (1942)