In Memory of
Army Flight Officer
LaVerne Virgil Bauer
Java, South Dakota
Walworth County
May 27, 1922 – October 22, 1944
Killed in Action near Hainching, China

 LaVerne Virgil Bauer

LaVerne Virgil Bauer was born May 27, 1922, in Java, South Dakota. His parents were Lydia and John Bauer. LaVerne was baptized in the Reformed Church of Java a few months after he was born. He was one of six children; he had three sisters, one half-sister, and one half-brother. LaVerne graduated in 1940 from Java High School, after having received all of his education.

His sisters’ names are Marjorie, Della, Deloris; his half-sister is Irene, and his half-brother is Duane. He also had a fiancée named Evelyn Pietz. Marjorie provided some information about “Johnny,” as his friends called him. Marjorie remembers that LaVerne was always happy and loved airplanes, music, and art. Marjorie also remembers that when their sister graduated, LaVerne had to hitchhike about 100 miles back to Java. As Marjorie recalls: “He did not make it in time for the graduation service as he did not get many rides but walked the majority of the way.”

After LaVerne graduated, he went to a C.C.C. camp in Fruitdale, South Dakota, for six months, because his family did not have any money for college. After Fruitdale, LaVerne went to Pierre, South Dakota, where he worked in the main office at the Pierre Indian School. A couple of months later, he was transferred to a N.Y.A. Office at Sand Lake, South Dakota, where he worked as a detail clerk, which position he held until the time he was called to service.

On October 28, 1942, LaVerne left for Fort Snelling, Minnesota, where he entered the Air Force. He was then sent to Miami Beach, Florida, for his preliminary training. In January 1943 LaVerne was sent to Amarillo, Texas, where he took a course in aviation mechanics. He graduated, 3 months later, from the B-17 course as an Ace mechanic. LaVerne received a Corporal rating and served as crew chief. In April 1943 he was transferred to the Boeing aircraft factory in Seattle, Washington, where he worked on the B-29 Super Fortress bomber and graduated with high honors.

Corporal Bauer was one of a few men picked to take Flight engineering and Officer’s Training, in Salina, Kansas. On September 25, 1943 he was commissioned Flight Officer. After Officer Bauer received his silver wings and his officer’s bars, he was sent to Prutt, Kansas, where he served on a B-29 Super Fortress bomber. Officer Bauer and his team were sent to India in the first part of April 1944. He served in the India-China Theatre of War up to the time of his death. Officer Bauer took part in many long and dangerous missions over The Himalayan Mountains and was with the first group of bombers, which raided Japan.

LaVerne Virgil Bauer’s sister Marjorie remembers:

He was thrilled and proud of his experiences… He derived what enjoyment he could out of life wherever his duties took him… He counted himself fortunate in having the opportunity to see as many things and places which others of us do not see or expect to see in a lifetime. His life was a short one—but a full one and his memory will live long among those who knew him.

The news of the death of this fine young man was received with deep regret by all those who knew him. In entering his country’s service he chose the Air Corps and took a wholehearted interest in his work. Officer LaVerne Virgil Bauer was killed in action in an airplane crash near Hainching, China October 22, 1944. His remains are buried in a National Cemetery near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Amy Williams, 11th Grade, Mobridge High School, Mobridge, South Dakota, December 21, 2001. Information for this entry was provided by Mrs. Marjorie Buechler, Rapid City, South Dakota, sister of Army Flight Officer LaVerne V. Bauer.