In Memory of
Ship Serviceman (B) 1st Class
Paul Francis Bauer
Kranzburg, South Dakota
Codington County
December 31, 1916-June 21, 1945
Killed in action on Carrier Curtis at Kermana Retto

Paul Francis Bauer

Paul Francis Bauer, son of Joseph G. and Helen E. Bauer was bon on December 31, 1916 at Kranzburg, South Dakota.  Paul had six brothers and sisters:  Helen E., Henry J., Albert A., Victor N., Edmund J., Omer W., Evangeline and Ronald J. Bauer.  Paulís name at birth was Paul Sylvester Bauer.  He later legally changed it to Paul Francis Bauer.  Growing up in Kranzburg, Paul attended Holy Rosary School and then commuted to Watertown High School.  He graduated from high school on May 30, 1935.  After high school, he was an appliance salesman at Montgomery Ward in Watertown, and served as chariman of the Kranzburg School Board.  In 1940, he moved to California and worked for California Pacific Gas and Electric.  He enjoyed swimming in Lake Kampeska in the summers and taking care of his little brother.

Paul Bauer entered active service with the U.S. Naval Reserve as an Apprentice Seaman on December 16, 1941 at the Naval Recruiting Station in Omaha, Nebraska. He was then transferred to San Diego, California for training.  On January 11, 1942, he was transferred to the Naval Air Station, Roosevelt Base at Terminal Island, California, for extended training.  On January 24, 1942, Mr. Bauer joined the crew of the USS President Hayes.  He was transferred to the USS Curtiss (AV4) on February 3.  Paul started his naval career as an Aviation Machinist.  He was switched to a ship serviceman because he wasnít as handy with his hands.  He served as the shipís barber. Mrs. Bauer received this letter in which Paul told her of some of the times on the ship. 

Am listening to President Roosevelt speak on the occasion of Armistice Day.  There was a lot of static.  If seeing he is now there and the Star Spangled is being played.  The radio was turned on only a few minutes so I missed the first and greater part of what was said.

On June 21, 1945, a Japanese single-engine suicide plane carrying a 1000 lb. Bomb while at Kerama Retto hit USS Carrier Curtis.  Mr. Bauer, along with most his closest friends, was tragically killed.  On September 5, 1945, Mrs. Bauer received a letter from the U.S. Navy informing her of her sonís death. 

The Curtiss was hit by a Japanese suicide plane carrying a 1000-pound bomb, while we were operating at Kerama Retto, about twenty miles from Okinawa.  It happened on the evening of June 21, and your son was in the Sick Bay area when the explosion killed him instantly, without suffering.  His body was recovered and buried with full military honors. He now rests in a lovely little cemetery on the island of Zamami Shima near the billage of Ama.  Both Catholic and Protestant services were held.

Paul Francis Bauer was buried in Zamani Shima on July 10, 1949.  His father, Joseph George Bauer preceded him in death, on September 19, 1940.   His youngest brother Ronald J. Bauer is the only current survivor of his family.  Mr. Bauer received many awards and honors including the Purple Heart and the Good Conduct Medal.  Mr. Bauer is remembered dearly by his brother, Ronald.  He states that he was ďthe kind of brother to be proud of.Ē  It was a heart breaking loss, but Ronald will cherish the many memories of watching him swim at Lake Kampeska and his acts of devotion and kindness towards his family.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Kelsey A. Likness and Jennifer M. Lantgen, 11th Grade, Watertown High School, Watertown, South Dakota, April 5, 2002.  Information for this entry was provided by Ronald J. Bauer, Watertown, South Dakota, younger brother of Paul Francis Bauer and bonus records provided by the SD Division of Military and Veterans Affairs.