"Come What May I Don't Want To See It"
B.V. Baucom, Ca. WWI (Source: Web)
B.V. Baucom was born June 19, 1892 at Milford, TX. He graduated Milford High School in1915 and went on to the University of Texas from August 1915- May 1917. After the U.S. declared war on Germany in April, 1917, Baucom left college and went into the military. From May 8-August 15, 1917 he attended First Officer's Training Camp, Leon Springs,TX. He became a 2nd lieutenant of the Third Battalion and ordered to 343rd Field Artillery, Company B. Baucom made his mark during WWI.
He transferred to the air service and trained at Kelly Field, San Antonio,TX and as an observer at Post Field, Fort Sill, OK. He received overseas orders in April, 1918. He trained at Issoudun, France and arrived at the front on
June 11th where he worked with a French squadron, assigned to the Observation Group of the First Army Corps comprised of the1st, 12th, and 50th Aero (Observation) Squadrons. As an observer, during WWI he received two Distinguished Service Crosses for service during June, July, & September 12 - 16, 1918, and on November 5, 1918. Details of the awards are at the link. The awards were announced in The New York Times of October 24, 1918 and February 16, 1919. He earned the name "Battling Baucom" and received the French Croix de Guerre in October, 1918. While serving in France, he was commissioned captain.
Baucom and His Pilot, W. Erwin, Ca. 1918 (Source: SDAM)
An interesting aside in Baucom's WWI flying was that he was the observer in aircraft flown by pilot William P. Erwin (not a Register signer). Erwin, in August, 1927, joined the competition for the $25,000 Dole prize to be awarded to the winner of a trans-Pacific race flown from Oakland, CA to Honolulu, T.H. The competition began on August 16, 1927. Erwin and his copilot, Alvin Eichwaldt (not a Register signer), departed in the Swallow 1731 (not a Register airplane) they named "Dallas Spirit." Fellow competitor, and ultimate winner, was Register pilot Art Goebel. Please direct your browser to his page for details surrounding the Dole Race, and to the book linked from the right sidebar for a broader look at the Race, Goebel, and his navigator William V. Davis, Jr. Erwin, At the end of the Race, Eichwaldt and the "Dallas Spirit" had disappeared into the Pacific Ocean sometime between August 16-17, 1927. No remains were ever found. At right, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum Flickr Stream (SDAM), is an interesting juxtaposition of Baucom and Erwin as they appear next to each other online.
Erwin's loss stands in tragic contrast with his aggressive plans to extend the Dole flight into an around-the-world adventure accompanied by his new wife as copilot. As reported in The New York Times of July 31, 1927, he intended to continue his itinerary westward to Japan via Guam, then to India and Baghdad and on to Paris in time for an American Legion convention there. From there he would fly to Portugal, across the Atlantic to South America and thence back to the United States. None of this was to be, but the photograph posted with the article included his wife and B.V. Baucom, cited in the article as Erwin's wartime partner. That photograph is below with Baucom at far left in uniform.
The New York Times, July 31, 1927 (Source: NYT)
End interesting aside. After WWI ended, Baucom resigned from the Army in 1920 and graduated from the University of Texas Law School in1921. He had a short stint in the Texas legislature. He resigned from the legislature and in 1921 married Corinne Connor of Lexington, TX and re-entered the air service. He trained and became a pilot at Kelly Field. From May through August, 1922 Baucom was amember of the 94th Pursuit Squadron stationed at Ellington Field, TX. In September, he became Director of Pursuit Training, Advanced Flying School, at Kelly Field.
On January 21, 1927, he moved to Bolling Field, Washington, DC and served in the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps for 2 years. On August 13th, he transferred to and arrived on September 25th at March Field, Riverside, CA as
Commanding Officer of the Forty-Seventh School Squadron.
Baucom landed once at Tucson, Thursday, January 26, 1928. He was solo in the de Havilland he identified as 31-956. Curiously, numbers prefixed "31-" were assigned during 1931, three years after Baucom's landing. As well, Joe Baugher's site shows no military aircraft assigned numbers higher than 31-608 during 1931. Regardless, he was based at Riverside, CA March Field, and was northwest bound from El Paso, TX to Phoenix, AZ. No purpose was given for his flight.
Baucom died near Douglas, AZ in an airplane accident, May 30, 1928, barely four months after he visited us at Tucson. A brief, online biography with additional photographs is at the link. The portrait upper left, showing Baucom wearing his Distinguished Flying Cross, is from that page. A sentence from this biography states, "On May 30, 1928 Captain Baucom died in the crash of his De Havilland airplane while commanding a squadron of three planes being transferred from Kelly Field to March Field." This sentence is of interest because of a coincidence found in the Tucson Register.
The Register, pages 42-43, contains listings (near the middle of that page) for two DH4s arriving on May 30, 1928 during a ferry flight to March Field from Douglas AZ at 8:15 PM. The timing and itinerary invoke the question: Were these the two remaining aircraft from the three noted above?
In 1978 Mrs. Corinne Baucom gave the Byrne V. Baucom Collection to the History of Aviation Collection at the University of Texas, Dallas, TX. The Collection contains Baucom's personal effects, letters, photographs and memorbilia. Details of his Collection are at the link. One of his artifacts is a metal disk labeled, "Come What May I Don't Want To See It." Much of it he did not.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 05/21/12 REVISED: 12/24/14