Posts made in February, 2016

Harold W. Bauer

Posted on Feb 15, 2016

Harold W Bauer Lieutenant Colonel Harold William Bauer, commonly referred to as “Indian 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. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions as a fighter squadron commander during the crucial struggle for the control of the Solomons at the Battle of Guadalcanal.
Early years

Harold William Bauer was born in Woodruff, Kansas on November 20, 1908 and grew up in North Platte , Nebraska . He was the son of Volga German immigrants and had two brothers and two sisters. In high school, he played football, track and baseball.

Early Military career

He entered the Naval Academy in 1926 and was appointed a Marine secon lieutenant upon graduation in 1930. Bauer’s two younger brothers also followed him into the Academy. Following his commissioning, Bauer attended the Officers Basic School at Quantico , Virginia . He was then assigned as a company officer with the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines at Quantico .

In 1932, he became assistant basketball and lacrosse coach at the Naval Academy and an instructor in marksmanship, until his assignment to the San Diego Naval Base, where he was the Assistant Range Officer. He was promoted to first lieutenant on May 29, 1934.

He was then assigned to the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, in December 1934 where he earned his wings as a Marine aviator in February 1936. He was promoted to captain on June 30, 1937 and served with several squadrons at Quantico including Marine Scouting Squadron 1 (VMS-1) and Marine Fighting Squadron 1 (VMF-1). Bauer was transferred to the Naval Air Station San Diego, California, in June 1940 where he served as executive officer of Marine Fighting Squadron 221 (VMF-221). While stationed at San Diego , he participated in carrier group exercises on the USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Saratoga (CV-3). The December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor found Bauer and VMF-221 preparing to embark aboard the Saratoga for transport to Hawaii .

World War II

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Bauer and VMF-221 were transported to Hawaii and were slated to reinforce Wake Island , but were diverted to Midway after Wake fell. Transferred to Hawaii in February 1942, Bauer took command of Marine Fighting Squadron Two Eleven, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, and on March 1, 1942 commissioned and took command of Marine Fighting Squadron Two Twelve (VMF-212. Promoted to major on April 29, 1942, Bauer and VMF-212 were deployed to the South Pacific and were stationed at New Caledonia , and later Efate , Vanuatu . Although still the commanding officer of VMF-212, Bauer was also responsible for the operation of the airfield the squadron operated from and was utilized to select possible sites for additional airfields in the South Pacific. Bauer’s promotion to lieutenant colonel, after only three months as a major, was effective August 7.

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. He engaged the enemy and shot down one of their bombers. Again attacking a superior force on October 3, 1942, he shot down four of the enemy and left a fifth badly damaged.

While leading a reinforcement flight on October 16, 1942, from Espirito Santo , Vanuatu to Guadalcanal , 600 miles (970 km) away, Bauer was about to land at Henderson Field when he noticed a squadron of Japanese planes attacking the USS McFarland (DD-237) offshore. Though the long flight from Espirito 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 Henderson Field.

On November 14, 1942, 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. He did not appear to be seriously hurt. The following morning began days of intense searching by planes and Russell Island natives, but no further trace of him was found.

The squadron under his command at Guadalcanal was officially credited with downing 92 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.

Bauerfield International Airport in Port Vila, Vanuatu is named in his honor.

Medal of Honor citation

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

LIEUTENANT COLONEL HAROLD W. BAUER
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

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.

/S/FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

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Anthony Casamento

Posted on Feb 1, 2016

Anthony Casamento

Anthony Casamento

Corporal Anthony Casamento, (November 16, 1920 – July 18, 1987) was presented the Medal of Honor by President Jimmy Carter on September 12, 1980 in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, 38 years after Cpl Casamento’s heroism on Guadalcanal in 1942.

Biography

Casamento was born November 16, 1920 in Manhattan , New York . He enlisted in the Marine Corps on August 19, 1940 in New York City . After completing recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, he was assigned to the 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division.

Military career

Six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor , the 5th Marines was on its way to the southwest Pacific to take part in the initial invasion of Japanese-held territory as part of the 1st Marine Division. The Marine landing on Guadalcanal began in August 1942 and Cpl Casamento made the assault with Company D, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines.

On November 1, 1942, while serving as a leader of a machine gun squad in an attack on Japanese positions, Cpl Casamento’s Marines came under heavy enemy fire near the Matanikau River . During the ensuing battle, all members of the unit were either killed or severely wounded. Despite his own multiple wounds, Cpl Casamento continued to provide supporting fire and heroically held the enemy at bay, thereby protecting the flanks of adjoining companies until he was physically unable to continue.

Post War

Corporal Casamento was treated at a medical aid station, then shipped back to the United States and admitted to the naval hospital in Oakland , California .

In 1964, it was learned that two eyewitnesses to Cpl Casamento’s heroism were still alive. That set in motion a chain of events that would ultimately result in his receiving the Medal of Honor in 1980.

Corporal Casamento died July 27, 1987 in the VA hospital in Northport , New York , after a long illness.

Decorations

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Cpl Casamento’s awards include the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Medal with two bronze stars (for Guadalcanal-Tulagi Landings and Capture and Defense of Guadalcanal), and the World War II Victory Medal.

Medal of Honor citation

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

CORPORAL ANTHONY CASAMENTO
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company “D”, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division on Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands, in action against the enemy Japanese forces on November 1, 1942. Serving as a leader of a machine gun section, Corporal Casamento directed his unit to advance along a ridge near the Matanikau River where they engaged the enemy. He positioned his section to provide covering fire for two flanking units and to provide direct support for the main force of his company which was behind him. During the course of this engagement, all members of his section were either killed or severely wounded and he himself suffered multiple, grievous wounds. Nonetheless, Corporal Casamento continued to provide critical supporting fire for the attack and in defense of his position. Following the loss of all effective personnel, he set up, loaded, and manned his unit’s machine gun, tenaciously holding the enemy forces at bay. Corporal Casamento single-handedly engaged and destroyed one machine gun emplacement to his front and took under fire the other emplacement on the flank. Despite the heat and ferocity of the engagement, he continued to man his own weapon and repeatedly repulsed multiple assaults by the enemy forces, thereby protecting the flanks of the adjoining companies and holding his position until the arrival of his main attacking force. Corporal Casamento’s courageous fighting spirit, heroic conduct, and unwavering dedication to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

/S/ JIMMY CARTER

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Norman Scott

Posted on Feb 1, 2016

Norman_Scott.jpg (11578 bytes)Rank and organization: Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy.
Born: 10 August 1889, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Appointed from: Indiana.

For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty during action against enemy Japanese forces off Savo Island on the night of 11-12 October and again on the night of 12-13 November 1942. In the earlier action, intercepting a Japanese Task Force intent upon storming our island positions and landing reinforcements at Guadalcanal, Rear Adm. Scott, with courageous skill and superb coordination of the units under his command, destroyed 8 hostile vessels and put the others to flight. Again challenged, a month later, by the return of a stubborn and persistent foe, he led his force into a desperate battle against tremendous odds, directing close-range operations against the invading enemy until he himself was killed in the furious bombardment by their superior firepower. On each of these occasions his dauntless initiative, inspiring leadership and judicious foresight in a crisis of grave responsibility contributed decisively to the rout of a powerful invasion fleet and to the consequent frustration of a formidable Japanese offensive. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

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