BAK, MICHAEL JOHN, Private, # 37 20281, USAAF


Michael J. Bak was born on 30 June 1919 in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, to Martin Josef Bak (1885-1970) and Karolina Mary (Komander) Bak (1890-1979). Siblings were Jan Bak (1909-1911), Joseph Bak (1911-1980), Walter John Bak (1913-1999), Stenislaner Bak (1914-    ), Jacob Anthony Bak (1921-2007), Anthony Frank Bak (1924-1987), and another sister. He was married to Arline Marie (Redling) Bak (1916-2000) on 5 April 1940 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They had children: Paul Michael Bak and Carolyn Ruth Bak.


He registered for the WWII draft on 16 October 1940, employed by Northern Oats Co., resided at 1346 Johnson St. NE, Minneapolis, MN, and described himself as 5’9”, 175 lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, on 12 February 1944. He was trained to maintain and monitor the mechanical systems (crew chief) on the B-24/C-87 Express Liberator. He was sent overseas to India. He earned his crewman wings. On 5 May 1945 a C-87 Express Liberator (B-24 variant for cargo transport), # 44-39265, assigned to 10th Air Force, ATC, India-China Wing, 1330th AAF Base Unit, Jorhat, India, departed the airfield on a cargo mission through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump) to Kunming, China. Last contact was by radio at about 0036 Zulu with Capt. William Mitchell, 0-575647 near Gologhat, India. He is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. A memorial marker was placed in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Sec. MA, Site 64). He was awarded the Air Medal.