Harold William Bauer was born November 20, 1908, in Woodruff, Kansas. Bauer grew up in North Platte, Nebraska, and attended the Naval Academy in 1926. After graduating, Bauer decided to join the U.S. Marine Corps. Bauer became an assistant basketball and lacrosse coach at the Naval Academy and an instructor on marksmanship. In December 1934 Bauer was assigned to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, where he earned his wings as a marine aviator. After Pearl Harbor was attacked Bauer was sent to Midway Island as a squadron commander, and then was transferred to Hawaii in February 1942 before being sent to the South Pacific. On September 28, 1942, a superior enemy force attacked Bauer and his squadron and Bauer shot down 11 enemy planes. On October 16 Bauer was returning to Henderson airfield, on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, when he noticed that an enemy force was attacking the USS MacFarland. Although he was low on fuel and had no reinforcements, Bauer proceeded to help the USS MacFarland by shooting down four planes before the lack of fuel forced him back to base. On November 14 Bauer was forced to ditch his plane over the ocean, and that was the last time he was seen. Although there was an extensive search over the next ten days, his body was never recovered. Bauer was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, along with several other awards for his heroic efforts throughout the war.
Entry: Bauer, Harold
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: July 2012
Date Modified: March 2013
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