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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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.
Notes on Company A, 70th Tank
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
The following article
appeared in the May 10, 1948 Pittsburgh Press:
War Hero Forming Club
For Vets, Boys
New Store To Include
Brookline's "One-Man Army" is branching
Dick Bauer, former Army lieutenant who
collected enough honors for a company in the war, has gone into the recruiting
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
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
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
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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