James Harold Baumgartner was born on June 23, 1921 to Grover and Rosina Baumgartner. He was born in Adams County, Berne, Indiana. His family never left Berne. He had seven siblings: Catherine, Gerald, Marcus, Rose Mae, Harriet, James, Edwin, and Paul. Of the eight Baumgartner children, he born sixth. James' grandmother, Bertha Louise (Saurer) Baumgartner on his father's side lived with them.

First Lieutenant Baumgartner went by the nickname Jim. He attended Berne High School and graduated in 1939. He played basketball on the varsity team through high school. James also attended Butler University on a basketball scholarship. He was married to Maxine Moser on June 10th 1944. James also worked at a local Kroger. Baumgartner_James3.jpgBaumgartner_James6.jpegGrowing up, the family occasionally spoke German in the house. The family attended the Reformed Church. His father worked as a carpenter while his mother worked was a housewife. Unfortunately, the family faced many hardships. Three of James' siblings, Catherine, Gerald, and Rose Mae, passed away when they were very young. Then in 1943 James' father, Grover, and grandmother, Bertha, passed away.

James then enlisted into the military in Toledo, Ohio during the year 1942. He enlisted on August 7th and officially entered on February 3rd of the same year.

James was a First Lieutenant of the Army Air Corps and officially became a pilot in 1943 in the state of Oklahoma. He received C-47 transport training in late 1944 in Montana. By March 1945 James was sent overseas. His job was to pilot a C-47 plane to the China-Burma-India theater.

Baumgartner_James2.jpgThe goal of the China-Burma-India theater was a way for the allies to aid the Chinese as they were undergoing attacks from Japan. The theater itselfDFS.jpg was a series of supply lines. This was considered very dangerous, as the only way for the US to supply China was to fly over "the hump." "The Hump" was a reference to the Himalayan mountains. James' job was to help transport supplies to China in a C-47 transport plane.

James was killed on July 7th, 1945 in a plane crash in China at age 24. He was interred temporarily in the New American Military Cemetery in Kunming, China. He was permanently moved to the National Cemetery in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii at the conclusion of the war.

For his service, Lt. Baumgartner was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement in aerial flight, Bronze Star, and the Air Medal. The Bronze Star was awarded to soldiers thought to have done heroic act. The Air Medal was to reward merit in situations of flight related duties. In addition, Lt. Baumgartner earned the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Purple Heart, and WWII Victory Medal.

Information researched and collected by Chloe Stetler, 2015


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"Adams County Indiana Deaths in World War II." Adams County Indiana Deaths in World War II. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.

"China-Burma-India Theater (CBI)." China-Burma-India Theater (CBI). Web. 30 Nov. 2015.

"Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials." Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.

"James H Baumgartner: Person, Pictures and Information -" Fold3. Web. 30 Nov.2015.