Lt. Col. Harold W. Bauer
United States Marine Corps (USMC) VMF-212 F4F Wilcat Pilot
Harold William Bauer was born on November 20, 1908 in Woodruff, Kansas and grew up in North Platte, Nebraska. In 1926 entered the United States Naval Academy (USNA) class of 1930. After graduation, he was assigned to the U.S. Marine Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant.
On March 1, 1942 became Commanding Officer (C. O.) of Marine Fighting Squadron 212 (VMF-212).
On November 14, 1942 took off from Henderson Field piloting F4F Wilcat 03454 and went Missing In Action (MIA). Postumously, he earned the Medal of Honor for his role flying combat missions between November 10-14, 1942.
Posthumous Medal of Honor Citation (July 23, 1944)
"For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous courage as Squadron Commander of Marine Fighting Squadron two twelve in the South Pacific Area during the period May 10 to November 14, 1942. Volunteering to pilot a fighter plane in defense of our positions on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Lieutenant Colonel Bauer participated in two air battles against enemy bombers and fighters outnumbering our force more than two-to-one, boldly engaged the enemy and destroyed one Japanese bomber in the engagement of September 28 and shot down four enemy fighter planes in flames on October 3 leaving a fifth smoking badly. After successfully leading twenty-six planes in the over-water ferry flight of more than six hundred miles on October 16, Lieutenant Colonel Bauer, while circling to land, sighted a squadron of enemy planes attacking the USS McFarland. Undaunted by the formidable opposition and with valor above and beyond the call of duty, he engaged the entire squadron and, although alone and his fuel supply nearly exhausted, fought his plane so brilliantly that four of the Japanese planes were destroyed before he was forced down by lack of fuel. His intrepid fighting spirit and distinctive ability as leader and an airman, exemplified in his splendid record of combat achievement, were vital in the successful operations in the South Pacific Area."
Bauer was officially declared dead on January 8, 1946. He earned the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Afterwards, Port Vila Airport (Via Airfield) on Efaté Island in New Hebrides (Vanuatu) was renamed Bauer Field in honor of Lt. Col. Harold W. Bauer. Also, USS Bauer (DE-1025) launched June 7, 1957 was named in his honor.
Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) - Lieutenant Colonel, USMC, (1908-1942)
U.S. Naval Academy Virtual Memorial Hall - Harold Bauer '30
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harold William Bauer
Marine Corps University - Lieutenant Colonel Harold William Bauer, USMC (Deceased)
Congressional Medal of Honor Society - Harold William "Indian Joe" Bauer
Missing Marines - Harold W. Bauer (photos)
FindAGrave - LTC Harold William Bauer (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II (1952) pages 67, 70, 78, 91, 103 (VMF-212 Efate to Henderson), 116 (November 14, 1942), 119, 425 (MOH), 431 (Marine Aces: 21. Bauer 11), 433 (Squadron Commanders Killed, Bauer, 11/14/42), 479 (index)
(Page 116) "Among the missing was Joe Bauer, the Cactus Air Force's highly esteemed fighter commander. He was seen in his Mae West after he was shot down, but four days of intense searching by planes and by Russell Islands natives failed to locate any further trace of him."
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