Brookline War Memorial
Richard A. Bauer

United States Army (1775-present)

1st Lt. Richard A. Bauer
United States Army (1941-1945)

Below is an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, dated September 14, 1945, detailing the return home of First Lieutenant Richard Albert Bauer of Brookline. Lt. Bauer, a tank company officer, fought in the War in Africa and Europe, from North Africa to the mountains of Austria. After nearly three years at war, Richard Bauer was finally home.

Lt. Richard A Bauer

Officer, Wounded Five Times, Back At Home Again

Five times his wife and mother endured the agony of reading War Department telegrams that First Lieutenant Richard A. Bauer had been wounded - but last night they held him, hale and hearty, in their arms.

No crowds lined Brookline Boulevard as a motor caravan bearing the lieutenant home sped past. The war was over, and people no longer became excited about parades - and dinners were cooking in many a kitchen. Then, too, many other mothers were thinking of sons not yet returned.

But once the husky, quiet-spoken lieutenant reached the modest frame house at 1207 Berkshire Avenue, it immediately became the mecca for hundreds of relatives, friends and clamoring children to whom soldiering is still just play.

It hadn't been play for Lieutenant Bauer. The Purple Heart with four Oak Leaf Clusters on his chest testified to that. And it was just one ribbon on two solid rows that decorated his tunic.

Tears rimmed the eyes of his mother, Mrs. Margaret Bauer, and his wife, pretty, chestnut-haired Mary Bauer, as they hurried down the platform at the Pennsylvania Railroad Station to meet the lieutenant. His wife had met the lieutenant in Harrisburg, but his mother had yet to see her son.

A broad-shouldered, clean-cut soldier in a smart uniform moved toward them, his eyes eager and searching. "It's him," whispered Mrs. Bauer, "it's my boy." The lieutenant saw her and quickened his pace.

Without a word he crushed his mother into his arms. His wife stood by, crying happily. When he finally lifted his face, the lieutenant's cheeks were set with tears, and this time they were his own.

Lt. Richard A Bauer, center, gets a
welcome home kiss from his mother and wife.
Lieutenant Bauer gets a welcome home kiss
from his mother and his wife Mary.

Then the mob of welcomers enveloped Lieutenant Bauer. "This is the worst battle I was ever in," he said, wiping smudges of lipstick from his face.

The party walked past a train-bound group of inductees who waved at Lieutenant Bauer without knowing who he was. They saw the five gold stripes on his sleeves and the ribbons that splashed his tunic with color.

At his home on Berkshire Avenue, First Lieutenant Richard Bauer was mobbed by neighborhood children. Two-year old Brian Fornear tugged at the soldier's legs until he was picked up. Then little Brian, frightened by the noise, began to cry.

Curly-haired Mary Lou Cuddyre, 4, was next. She kissed the lieutenant. He chuckled. "I'm glad you're too young for lipstick," he said.

Lt. Richard A Bauer, center, gets a
welcome home kiss from his mother and wife.

Everyone went to the basement in the Bauer home, where an uncle, former Sergeant Edward R. O'Keefe, had built a bar and festooned it with the approved forms of GI art. One sign read:

"There will be no need to dig garbage pits or slit trenches tonight. By order of First Lieutenant Bauer."

Lieutenant Bauer had a few beers while he waited for his mother's chicken and spaghetti dinner. He didn't talk about himself. He talked about his buddies in Company A of the Seventieth Tank Battalion.

"They made it possible for me to be here," he said.

Lieutenant Bauer, 26, who has amassed 148 points, expects to be discharged from the Army on Sunday. Formerly a clerk, he said he will enter the University of Pittsburgh as a freshman.

The basement walls were covered with German trophies he had sent home. Kids peered through the windows, fascinated both by the trophies and by the man who won them.

For First Lieutenant Richard Bauer, a decorated war veteran, a soldier that had fought from the sands of North Africa to the heart of the Nazi menace in Germany, the war is over, and it's time to prepare for civilian life.

It will be quite a lifestyle change after the battlefields of Europe, that of a student rather than a soldier. A welcome change, and one that will surely be surrounded by plenty of family and friends.

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Richard A. Bauer was born February 27, 1919, to parents Fred G. and Margaret C. Bauer. When war broke out, he was living at 1207 Berkshire Avenue with his mother. Richard enlisted in the Army on December 11, 1941. When he returned home on leave, on February 14, 1942, he married Mary Catherine Ann Kiefner.

On May 10, 1943, Lt. Bauer shipped out for assignment as an officer in Company A, 70th Tank Battalion, then stationed in North Africa. After his years of service overseas, Richard returned to the United States on September 8, 1945 and was honorably discharged three months later on the 9th of December.

Richard returned home from Europe and moved into an apartment at 968 Brookline Boulevard with his wife and mother. For a short time, he operated a store, Dick's Confectionary, and later organized the Brookline War Veteran's Club. Richard and his family eventually settled at 816 Bellaire Avenue.

In addition to his duties at the veteran's club, he helped his father-in-law, George Kiefner, with the Kiefner Beer Distributing, opened in 1953 and located on the ground level at 968 Brookline Boulevard. The distributing company later moved to 962 Brookline Boulevard.

In 1964, the Brookline Veteran's Club was sold and became the Brookline Young Men's Club. In 1985 it was renamed the Brookline Social Club in 1985. Richard Albert Bauer died on October 31, 1984 and is buried in Resurrection Cemetery in Coraopolis.

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70th Tank Battalion Shoulder Patch.

Notes on Company A, 70th Tank Battalion

The 70th Tank Battalion was formed as an independent medium tank battalion in June 1940, equipped with M2A2 light tanks. The Battalion began training for amphibious operations immediately. It received M3 Stuart light tanks in 1941, and was redesignated the 70th Light Tank Battalion.

The unit sailed with the 1st Infantry Division, on January 9, 1942, for the French island of Martinique in the West Indies. It was the only U.S. tank battalion combat ready for an amphibious operation. Company A was detached from the battalion and landed in North Africa as part of Operation Torch, attached to the 39th Regimental Combat Team.

M3 Stuart Light Tank - 1942
The M3 Stuart Light Tank was the main battle tank of the
U.S. Tank Corps before the arrival of the M4 Sherman.

After the allied victory in North Africa, the battalion landed in Sicily as part of Operation Husky, in July 1943. After the Battle of Sicily, in November 1943, it was withdrawn to England, where it was re-equipped as a standard tank battalion with M4 Shermans.

The battalion suffered some casualties when, during Exercise Tiger on the morning of April 28, 1944. During a D-Day training mission, German E-boats on patrol from Cherbourg spotted a convoy of eight LSTs carrying vehicles and combat engineers of the 1st Engineer Special Brigade in Lyme Bay and attacked. Several LST's were damaged or sunk, and 638 casualties, both Army and Navy, were reported.

M4 Sherman Tank of the 70th Tank Battalion in
Normandy passes GIs and a wagon-load of German POWs.
M4 Sherman of Company A 70th Tank Battalion passes a squad of GIs
guarding several German POWs in Normandy, France.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the battalion landed on Utah Beach as part of the 4th Infantry Division, supporting the 8th Infantry Regiment led by General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.; For Operation Overlord, Companies A and B were equipped with amphibious DD Sherman tanks. Company A fought in the northward drive to Cherbourg, and in the breakout from Saint Lo. It battled it's way through France and into Belgium, entering Germany on September 13, 1944.

Company A fought in the Hurtgen Forest in November 1944, and moved to the Ardennes a month later. They fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and on March 29, 1945, crossed the Rhine River. The Battalion moved quickly through Germany, reaching the Danube River on April 25. Company A of the Seventieth Tank Battalion ended the war near the Austrian border.

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The following article appeared in the January 5, 1948 Pittsburgh Press:

War Hero's Luck Holds In Brookline Blaze

Seven Lives Saved When His Buddy Is Awakened by Smoke; Two Rescued

The relentless death which pursued but never caught up with a Brookline hero all through the war visited him again in a flame-lit Sunday dawn, but brushed on past again.

This time it came to ex-Lieutenant Richard A. Bauer, Brookline's "One-Man Army," in a roaring, four-alarm fire which almost trapped the seven residents of his combination confectionery and apartment house, at 968 Brookline Boulevard. But his own courage and the quick action of Robert Weisman, 30, a wartime buddy who roomed at the place, brought all seven to safety.

All Were Asleep

Bauer, 28, who was wounded five times and in all won fourteen citations in the European theater for gallantry, was asleep with his wife, Mrs. Mary Bauer, 26, and their year-old son, Dick Jr., in their second-floor apartment above the store when the fire began.

Sleeping in a rear room were Weisman and Regis Henn, 46, Bauer's uncle, while the veteran's mother, Mrs. Margaret B. Garner, 48, and her husband, Andrew B. Garner, 48, were asleep in a third ground-floor room.

Weisman awoke at 6:25am. He smelled smoke. He threw off the bedclothes and roused Henn. By then they could hear the flames eating their home from below.

Weisman rushed up the hall to the Bauer apartment and roused them. They grabbed up the child and ran to the steps. But they were almost cut off by the smoke which poured up. Wrapping the baby in a blanket, they managed to get down, creeping beneath the smoke and out to Brookline Boulevard.

When Bauer counted noses he found all his family there but his mother. Garner, who in the confusion, thought she had come out, ran back in. His stepson followed but was driven back by flames and smoke, but Garner fought through to the room. Bauer rushed in an adjoining building up to the connecting sunporch, crossed over and came down the fire escape at the rear of his store. He and Garner then brought Mrs. Garner down to safety.

Count Themselves Lucky

Later Saturday, safe at the home of relatives at nearby 963 Woodbourne Avenue, they could count themselves lucky that they even got out at all.

From another standpoint, however, this was just another item in a string of bad luck which has dogged Dick Bauer's footsteps ever since the Wehrmacht stopped shooting at him. First, as a civiliam confectioner again, the ex-lieutenant couldn't get merchandise for his store. Finally, after VJ-Day, things got better. He opened another store at Knox Avenue and Charles Street, in Knoxville.

Sustain Heavy Loss

Then bad luck moved in again. First there was an accident with the delivery truck. Then Bauer fell sick again of an asthmatic ailment picked up in Africa. There was no one to run the store, so the Bauer's were forced to sell out only last August.

Now he is out of business completely. He estimated the losses at around $28,000, all insured, but the family also lost their clothes and most of their other personal belongings.

Besides this, the blaze which apparently began in the lower part of the establishment, wiped out a lithographing plant operated in the sub-basement by Ben F. Dawson. Although the yellow-brick shell of the store is still standing, it will take weeks, if not months, to rebuild it.

During the war, Bauer, an Armored Force officer, won, besides his five Purple Hearts, the Silver Star and the Bronze Star with two clusters. He would almost trade them all now for a good carpenter and a pile of building materials.

Lt. Richard A Bauer
Mary and Richard Bauer

NOTE: This was the second major fire at 968 Brookline Boulevard in just a three year period. On January 22, 1945, a six-alarm blaze swept through the building, then home to The Walnut Shop, as reported in the Pittsburgh Press the following day.

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The following article appeared in the May 10, 1948 Pittsburgh Press:

War Hero Forming Club For Vets, Boys

New Store To Include Amusement Rooms

Brookline's "One-Man Army" is branching out.

Dick Bauer, former Army lieutenant who collected enough honors for a company in the war, has gone into the recruiting business.

He's organizing a club for boys and veterans. The club, known as the "Brookline Veterans," has been incorporated as a non-profit organization.

The idea came to him after a fire wiped out his flourishing "Dick's Confectionery" at 968 Brookline Boulevard, last January 5.

While recovering from an attack of asthma in Aspinwall Veteran's Hospital, he mapped plans for rebuilding. "Why not include clubrooms for boys and veterans to keep them out of trouble in their spare time?" he asked himself.

Shuffle board, pool tables and other amusements will be provided out of the 25-cent yearly dues. Boys from ages ten to sixteen will be allowed use of the club three nights a week until 10pm. The other nights will be for veterans.

Judge Lois M. McBride has been names honorary president, with the "One-Man Army" as president, and George McHeffy secretary.

Leading a company of tanks through North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany, Dick collected five Purple Hearts, three Bronze Stars and a Silver Star.

Last January the Brookline hero displayed his bravery again in rescuing his mother, Mrs. Margaret B. Garner, 48, when their apartment home above his shop at 968 Brookline Boulevard was destroyed by fire.

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NOTE: The Brookline Veteran's Club was open from 1950 to 1964. Richard A. Bauer passed away on October 31, 1984 at the age of sixty-five. He was laid to rest at Resurrection Cemetery in Coraopolis.

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Brookline Veteran's Park - April 26, 2014.

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