Last Known Activity
No records have been located concerning the early life of Joseph R. Baughman.
His first appearance in the military record is contained within his NARA enlistment files. He enlisted at Fort Hayes, Ohio on May 24, 1941 as a private in the Army Air Forces. His enlistment papers state he had completed 4 years of college (unnamed), and was employed as a general office clerk. It also states he was born in Ohio in 1918.
He was selected for flight duty, and trained as a pilot. After completing this training, he was commissioned, awarded wings, and assigned to a multi-engine transitional course. After that, he was sent to North Africa, where according to records, he flew at least 20 combat missions.
On February 25, 1944, the aircraft with Lt. Baughman as co-pilot, left Lucerna, Italy for a bombing mission over Regensnerg, Germany. Approximately 30 minutes out from the IP, the aircraft was attacked by enemy fighters. Observers stated later that the gas tanks were hit, all 4 engines were aflame, and that an internal fire swept the aircraft from nose to tail.
Several parachutes were observed, but no accurate count was obtained. There are differences between German records and the Missing Air Crew and subsequent reports.
German reports one airman was found in the wreckage, horribly burned and with no identification. They also found three additional dead bodies around the crash site. However, the Missing Air Crew Report ( MACR) has later penciled-in notes that show 4 men were captured, and 6 died. Germans state 4 dead, and 5 captured. All other sources state 6 men were killed in action.
The unidentified airman from the plane was buried in the cemetery at Baden Kirchen on February 29, 1944, while the 3 dead were buried in the cemetery in Holzhaus on March 1, 1944. After the war, these bodies were retrieved by Allied forces and re-buried in various cemeteries. Lt. Baughman and Sgts Greenwood and Frost are buried in a common grave in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky in Section F, Site 34.
NARA Enlistment Records
Lt Joseph R. Baughman was the assigned co-pilot on B-17 F # 42-31664, not named, assigned to the 32nd Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 2593 was issued, but most details of the loss are documented in observer/survivors statements. Mission loading lists show the crew as:
2 Lt David F. Paxton p
2 Lt Joseph R. Baughman c-p
2 Lt Joseph J. Chapas nav
2 Lt Frank H. Mullen bomb
TSgt Yick W. Joe eng/tt gun
SSgt Horace K. Greenwood r/o
SSgt Jack C. Frost btg
SSgt Charles H. Alexander wg
SSgt Joe D. Tate tail gun
Sgt Timothy O'Connor photo
Ranks and grades as of mission date.