Freedom Fighters: J.C. Baucher - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: J.C. Baucher


J.C. Baucher tried to go into the service right of high school. 

"I made a commitment to the Air Force when I was seventeen," J.C. Baucher, said. "Then you could go into the Navy or Marines at 17, but you couldn't go into the Army or Air Force until you were 18."

"I made a commitment at 17 and they called me up when I was 18." 

Baucher was assigned to the Army Air Waves Communication System, and trained in cryptography as a crypto technician, whose duty was to code and decode messages.

He was sent to Munich, Germany, where the war had just ended, though it was still raging in the South Pacific.

On August 6, and August 9, 1945, atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing Japan to surrender on August 14.  

With World War II ending and the cold war poised to begin, the coding and decoding of highly sensitive messages were still a priority. 

"Movement of certain airplanes or personnel and the rest of it was just normal," he said.

Baucher said while most of the German population was tired of war, some Hitler youth members were still causing problems, and the airport had to be watched constantly for sabotage.

"Every morning they would have to check the runway. They used dirt runways over there, and when the Americans came in, they put down those big corrugated metal runners and they're perforated, and we'd have to check every morning because they would sometimes take staubs and sharpen them, and stick them in the runway holes, and try to do a little sabotage."

Baucher was stationed at the airfield, previously reserved for German jets. The jets had been developed near the end of the war, and were far superior to allied planes.

"I worked with a geologist that was a gunner on a B-17 and he said the first time they saw a jet, they came down through the formation. He said you couldn't even look or turn your gun fast enough to shoot."

Fortunately, those early German jets could stay in the air only a short time, or the war would probably have lasted even longer. After a year in Munich, Baucher returned to the U.S. and resumed his life and education. He was a member of Floyd Wagstaff's firs post-war championship basketball team at Tyler Jr. College, and would later become an icon to fishermen after developing the popular lures, the Hotspot and the Rattletrap.

And yet J.C. Baucher says today that his time in the Air Force was one of the most important times in his life.

"Well, you know, I'd do it again tomorrow," he said.

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