John Edmond BAKALAR


AGE24 yo
DATE OF BIRTH29 Août 1920
Hammond Lake , INDIANA
FAMILYMarried:Dorothea Sweetie sweetie

Children:Suzanne & Robert Bakalar
Parent : John Bakalar & Marie Elizabeth Wills
Sister: Elizabeth Jane
RANKFirst Lieutenant
DATE of ENLISTEMENT26 january 1942, Fort Benjamin Harrison, INDIANA
SQUADRON353rd Fighter Squadron
GROUP354th Fighter Group
ARMY9th Air Force
DATE OF DEATH1 September 1944
PLACE OF DEATHGaël (Ille-et-Vilaine-35)

P-51 Mustang - Type D-5 s/n 44-13895 FT-J
« Buck’s Baby Buggy »

p 51 mustang
Mission: Departure for an operational mission on the Gaël aviation camp.

TakeOff: Terrain A-31 Gaël (35)

Crashes at takeoff after a mechanical problem,

The plane is destroyed


Map Brittany American Cemetery

Purple HeartPhoto
Air Medal + 5 OLCPhoto
Ditinguished Service CrossPhoto


Citation for the Distinguished Service Cross presentation (posthumously) to Lieutenant John E. Bakalar:


“The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant (Air Corps) John E. Bakalar (ASN: 0-732120), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-51 Fighter Airplane in the 353d Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group, NINTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces on 16 August 1944, while participating in a controlled area sweep over enemy occupied territory. On this date, Lieutenant Bakalar took part in a diving attack upon a numerically superior enemy formation. Attacked constantly by the enemy who all but encircled him, and despite the fact that he had become separated from his wingman just after the initial dive, he fearlessly engaged one enemy aircraft after another and destroyed three of them. The outstanding heroism and complete disregard for personal safety displayed by Lieutenant Bakalar on this occasion reflect highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.”

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Strategic Forces in Europe, General Orders No. 97 (December 11, 1944)

usaf  9af354fg 353fs

Lieutenant John E. Bakalar was born on August 29, 1920 in Hammond, Indiana..

He graduated from Hammond high school and studied at the University of Idaho, in Moscow.

Prior to his enlistment in January 1942, he worked as an electrician for “E.I Du Pont de Nemours Company”, a factory manufacturing gun powder, at first, and then became one of the biggest Chemistry group.

(American Company founded in 1802 in Wilmington, Delaware, by Eleuthère and Irénée Du Pont de Nemours, a family native of France.)

Lt Bakalar enlisted in the US Air Corps at Fort Harrison, Indiana on January 26, 1942.

On June 5 he was assigned to the 353th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group 9th USAAF, then stationed on Lashenden R.A.F base, near Headcorn, Kent, England.

During the Battle of Normandy, this unit stations, in early July, on the advanced landing ground A-2 in Cricqueville. It takes part in ground support missions by strafings and bomb droppings.

The most part of it was a ceaseless effort to support troops on the ground, enabling the Breakthrough around Saint-Lô at the end of July. On August 15, 1944 the group leaves to the airfield, formerly used by the Luftwaffe in Gaël, Brittany, renamed ALG A-31.

On that very airfield, Lt John E. Bakalar “Buck” died due to a take off accident piloting his P-51-5 he nicknamed “Buck's Baby Buggy”, he turned 24 two days before.

September 1 would have only been his 36th mission since June 14, including two “give ups”. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters ans the Purple Heart..

Lt Balakar had only three victories, three Focke-Wulfe Fw190s he shot down on August 16 and for this action he was awarded the DSC.(Distinguished Service Cross).


Accident Report:

On September 1, 1944 Lt John Edmond Bakalar took off for an operational mission.

Giving full power to his the engine to take off, the Mustang drove on a pothole when he was at the very end of the runway ready to take off. The engine quickly stalled, the pilot had no chance but to crash in a fir plantation, killing him instantly.

The inquiry report states that a faulty molding of the compressor's first box had been found. It enabled coolant to leak through the joint in the Air Induction System and provoked the engine breakdown. This coolant was found in the intake manifold in significant quantity in the three cylinders.

Conclusion, the accident happened because of faulty materials.

Document issued on September 3, 1944 by 1st Lt John Kohopka, AC, Engineer Gp C, along with 1st Lt Eldon E. Posey , AC, general assistant OPRS.
work on track
354th Fighter Group of the course

November 13, 1954, Air Base Atterbury Become Bakalar Air Force Base. Colonel John O. Bradshaw, the 434th Troop Carrier Wing and Colonel Herbert O. Hamilton, Atterbury Air Force Base / Bakalar commander of the Air Force base hosting the wife of Lt J Bakalar and children.
Cérémonie au USA
Pilot Certificate of 1Lt Bakalar
Journal announcing the death of John
Map of Airfield
Camp d'aviation de Gael
Camp Aviation Gael

PROGRAMMERFrédéric & Renaud