Harry F. Bauer (DM-26)
Harry Frederick Bauer was born 17 July 1904 at Camp Thomas Lytle, Ga., and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1927. During the early part of his career he served at shore stations, including a tour as instructor at the Naval Academy, and in, Twiggs, Cuyama, and Tracy. Bauer was commissioned Lieutenant Commander 1 July 1941 and took command of fast transport Gregory 1 January 1942. While acting as combat transports for Marines off Guadalcanal during the night of 4-5 September 1942, Gregory and Little were surprised by three Japanese destroyers covering a small troop landing. Though vastly outgunned, the two transports fought valiantly before being sunk. Lt. Comdr. Bauer was badly wounded, and while being pulled clear by two of his crew ordered them to rescue another man crying out for assistance. Lt. Comdr. Bauer was lost, receiving the Silver Star posthumously for his gallantry.
Harry F. Bauer (DM-26) was launched as DD-738 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine, 9 July 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Harry F. Bauer, wife of Lt. Comdr. Bauer; converted to minelayer DM-26 and commissioned 22 September 1944, Comdr. R. C. Williams, Jr., in command.
Following shakedown training out of Bermuda and minelayer training off Norfolk, Harry F. Bauer sailed 28 November 1944 via the Panama Canal arriving San Diego 12 December. After additional training both there and at Pearl Harbor she departed Hawaii 27 January 1945 as a unit of Transport Group Baker for the invasion of Iwo Jima, next stop in the island campaign toward Japan. As Vice Admiral Turner's invasion troops stormed ashore 19 February, Harry F. Bauer acted as a picket vessel and carried out antisubmarine patrol to protect the transports. As the campaign developed, the ship also conducted shore bombardment, destroying several gun emplacements, tanks, and supply dumps. She proceeded to Ulithi 8 March to prepare for the last and largest of the Pacific island operations, Okinawa.
Harry F. Bauer arrived Kerama Retto 25 March and helped screen minecraft during preliminary sweeps of the invasion area. Under intensive air attack during this period, she shot down several Japanese planes, three on the night of 28-29 March alone. On the day of the assault, 1 April 1945, she joined the picket ships offshore, and for over two months of antisubmarine and anti-aircraft duty was under almost continuous attack. A torpedo crashed through her ballast tank 6 April, but failed to explode, and she again shot down three aircraft on the night of 29 April 1945. While in company with J. William Ditter 6 June, she was attacked by eight enemy aircraft Each ship accounted for three; one crashed close aboard Harry F. Bauer, flooding two compartments. Although damaged herself, the ship escorted the crippled J. William Ditter to Kerama Retto. Survey of her damage during repairs revealed an unexploded bomb in one of her flooded compartments.
After repairs at Leyte, Harry F. Bauer arrived Okinawa 15 August, the day of the Japanese surrender. With the prospect of massive minesweeping in Japanese waters incident to the occupation, she sailed 20 August for the East China Sea, where she engaged in minesweeping operations until arriving Sasebo 28 October. Sailing for the United States 1 December she arrived San Diego 22 December.
Sailing to Norfolk 8 January 1946, Harry F. Bauer began operations with the Atlantic Fleet. These consisted of antisubmarine cruises in the Atlantic and Caribbean, tactical training and fleet maneuvers. During October-November 1948 she took part in 2d Fleet exercises in the Atlantic, and in June-July 1949 participated in a Naval Academy training cruise with giant battleship Missouri.
In 1950 Harry F. Bauer made her first cruise to the troubled Mediterranean, departing 9 September and returning to Charleston 1 February 1951. During the years that followed she continued with tactical operations, that took her to the Caribbean and Northern Europe. She ended active steaming in September 1955 and decommissioned 12 March 1956 at Charleston before entering the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia. Deemed surplus to the needs of the Navy and struck from the Navy list on 15 August 1971, the hulk was sold for scrap to Northern Metal Co. of Philadelphia on 12 June 1974.
Harry F. Bauer received a Presidential Unit Citation for the series of courageous actions off Okinawa during that bitter campaign, where "the fleet had come to stay" and four battle stars for World War II service.
Disposition updated, 29 July 2008