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Adapted from "Captain Lawrence Earl Bach, Medical Corps, United States Navy, Deceased"  [biography, dated 6 July 1953] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

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  • Medicine
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  • Biography
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  • Korean Conflict 1950-1954
  • World War II 1939-1945
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Lawrence Earl Bach



23 August 1906 – 3 December 1986

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Lawrence Earl Bach was born in Jackson, Kentucky, on August 23, 1906, son of Madison T. and Martha S. Bach.  He attended Jackson High School, and in 1927 received the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kentucky at Lexington.  In 1931, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the University of Michigan Medical School, at Ann Arbor.  Commissioned Lieutenant (jg) in the Medical Corps of the US Navy on June 6, 1931, he subsequently advanced in rank, attaining that of Captain to date from March 25, 1945.

Following his appointment in the Navy in 1931, he interned and had medical service at the Naval Hospital, Washington, DC.  He remained there until May 1933, when he became Medical Officer of the Civilian Conservation Corps unit at Camp George G. Meade, Maryland.  In February 1936, he was assigned to the Naval Medical Hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia, for six months’ duty.

In August 1936, he reported as Relief Medical Officer on the staff of Commander Cruisers, Scouting Force, USS Chicago, flagship, and in November 1937, joined the USS Neches as Medical Officer.  Detached from that cruiser in August 1938, he next attended a postgraduate course in internal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.  Completing instruction there in June 1939, he was assigned to the Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Prior to and after the United States’ entry into World War II on December 8, 1941, he had duty (August 1940 to May 1943) with the Fleet Marine Force at Quantico, Virginia, and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  As Medical Officer of the USS Indiana, he participated in the assault on Marcus Island, September 1943, and in the Gilbert Island Campaign, November-December 1943.  In January 1944, he was transferred to the USS California, and while aboard that battleship saw further action during the Marianas Islands Operation—Saipan, Guam, Tinian Occupation, July and August 1944; Leyte Gulf and Surigao Straits engagement, in October 1944; and the Lingayen Gulf Operation, in January 1945.

Detached from the California in March 1945, he reported as Senior Medical Officer at the Naval Ammunition Depot, Hawthorne, Nevada.  He continued duty there until February 1946, when he became Executive Officer of the Naval Hospital, San Leandro, California.  That hospital was disestablished in September 1946, and he was transferred to the Naval Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana, to serve as Chief of Medicine until the hospital was decommissioned in November 1946.  He then had similar duty at the Naval Hospital, Long Beach, California, and from January 1949 until February 1950 served as Medical Officer on the staff of Commander Naval Forces Marianas, and on the staff of the Deputy High Commissioner of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.  Remaining in the Marianas, he served until September 1950 on the staff of the High Commissioner of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.  Remaining in the Marianas, he served until September 1950 on the staff of the High Commissioner of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Returning to the United States in August 1950, he was assigned to the Naval Hospital, Corpus Christi, Texas, and in August of the next year transferred to the Naval Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee.  He remained there until May 1952, when he joined the First Marine Division, Reinforced, for Korean duty.  “For exceptionally meritorious conduct…while serving with a Marine division during operations against the enemy in Korea from 19 June 1952 to 24 April 1953…” he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat “V”.  The citation continues in part:

“Serving as the Division Surgeon, Captain Bach displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence and determined efforts in the execution of his duties.  He coordinated and controlled the medical units within the division in such a manner that superior surgical and medical care was given to the wounded Marines and other friendly troops.  Despite the extreme danger, he requently visited the forward regimental and battalion aid stations to obtain first hand information pertaining to the care of casualties.  Under his guidance a Korean Marine Corps medical company was developed and maintained and as a result of his determined efforts, the Korean naval hospitals, in the rear areas were rapidly strengthened and improved…”

In February 1953, he was ordered to report to the Naval Hospital, St. Albans, Long Island, New York.

In addition to the Legion of Merit with Combat “V’, Captain Bach has the American Defense Service Medal with star; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign with three engagement stars; the World War II Victory Medal; the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two stars; Korean Service Medal; and the United Nations Service Medal.  He has also been awarded the Order of Military Merit, ULCHI, with Silver Star by the Republic of Korea and the Danish Red Cross Medal by Commodore Kai Hammerich, Commanding Officer of Expedition Danish Hospital Ship Jutlandia.

He died December 3, 1986.




Published: Thu Jul 23 15:06:40 EDT 2020