The Bakers Creek Memorial was dedicated on Fort Myer June 11, 2009, by then Secretary of the Army Pete Geren (third from left) and then Fort Myer Garrison Commander Col. Laura Richardson (third from right). DOD photo by Gerry J. GilmoreThe Bakers Creek Memorial was dedicated on Fort Myer June 11, 2009, by then Secretary of the Army Pete Geren (third from left) and then Fort Myer Garrison Commander Col. Laura Richardson (third from right). DOD photo by Gerry J. Gilmore

Annual Bakers Creek observance honors lives lost during World War IIAnnual Bakers Creek observance honors lives lost during World War II

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Commander Col. Kimberly Peeples will host a virtual ceremony of the annual Bakers Creek Memorial Observance at 8 a.m., June 14, to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the air crash in Queensland, Australia — a tragedy that took the lives of 40 Army Air Corps service members during World War II.

 

The Bakers Creek monument, a gift from Australia dedicated to the lives of those lost was placed at Fort Myer due to its close proximity to Arlington National Cemetery. Then Secretary of the Army Pete Geren and then Fort Myer Garrison Commander Col. Laura Richardson dedicated the memorial June 11, 2009.

 

The Soldiers whose lives were lost were members of the 4th Troop Carrier Squadron of the U.S. Fifth Air Force. On June, 14, 1943, they boarded their U.S. Army Boeing B-17C, known as "Miss Every Morning Fixin," and took off from the Mackay Airfield in Queensland, Australia, just before dawn at about 6 a.m. in foggy conditions headed for Port Moresby, New Guinea. The flying fortress made a low altitude turn and, a few minutes later, crashed just outside the small town of Bakers Creek — 5 miles south of Mackay.

 

There were six crewmembers and 35 passengers onboard. All were killed except for one survivor, Cpl. Foye Kenneth Roberts. The Bakers Creek memorial is a tribute to the 40 lives lost.

 

The Government of Australia donated Queensland pink marble for the construction of the memorial that was unveiled with the opening of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The monument was kept on the grounds of the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C., until a suitable home was found.

 

The Bakers Creek Memorial Society, led by executive director Robert F. Cutler, worked to raise awareness of the Bakers Creek air crash, to find family members of the victims and to find a final home for the memorial. Cutler’s personal attachment to the crash was that his father, Capt. Sam Cutler, was the Soldier who scheduled the flight of the Boeing B-17C that morning in 1943 and saw the men off before the crash.

 

In 2009, Geren made the decision to place the Bakers Creek monument on Fort Myer, as Arlington National Cemetery was no longer accepting memorials for placement in the cemetery. In 2010, then Secretary of the Army John McHugh issued a memorandum stating that a remembrance ceremony be held at the memorial every year.

 

Due to the current social distancing mandates, this year’s ceremony will be filmed. In coordination with the Mackay, Queensland, branch of the Returned and Services League of Australia, the virtual ceremony will be aired at 8 a.m. June 14, which is 10 p.m. in Australia, via JBM-HH’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/256357185441099/ .

All are invited to view the ceremony, which has a surprising connection to JBM-HH’s current commander. Crew member and navigator of the B17 flying fortress, 2nd Lt. Jack Ogren, is Peeples’ uncle – a fact she discovered shortly before taking command of the joint base.

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Commander Col. Kimberly Peeples will host a virtual ceremony of the annual Bakers Creek Memorial Observance at 8 a.m., June 14, to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the air crash in Queensland, Australia — a tragedy that took the lives of 40 Army Air Corps service members during World War II.

 

The Bakers Creek monument, a gift from Australia dedicated to the lives of those lost was placed at Fort Myer due to its close proximity to Arlington National Cemetery. Then Secretary of the Army Pete Geren and then Fort Myer Garrison Commander Col. Laura Richardson dedicated the memorial June 11, 2009.

 

The Soldiers whose lives were lost were members of the 4th Troop Carrier Squadron of the U.S. Fifth Air Force. On June, 14, 1943, they boarded their U.S. Army Boeing B-17C, known as "Miss Every Morning Fixin," and took off from the Mackay Airfield in Queensland, Australia, just before dawn at about 6 a.m. in foggy conditions headed for Port Moresby, New Guinea. The flying fortress made a low altitude turn and, a few minutes later, crashed just outside the small town of Bakers Creek — 5 miles south of Mackay.

 

There were six crewmembers and 35 passengers onboard. All were killed except for one survivor, Cpl. Foye Kenneth Roberts. The Bakers Creek memorial is a tribute to the 40 lives lost.

 

The Government of Australia donated Queensland pink marble for the construction of the memorial that was unveiled with the opening of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The monument was kept on the grounds of the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C., until a suitable home was found.

 

The Bakers Creek Memorial Society, led by executive director Robert F. Cutler, worked to raise awareness of the Bakers Creek air crash, to find family members of the victims and to find a final home for the memorial. Cutler’s personal attachment to the crash was that his father, Capt. Sam Cutler, was the Soldier who scheduled the flight of the Boeing B-17C that morning in 1943 and saw the men off before the crash.

 

In 2009, Geren made the decision to place the Bakers Creek monument on Fort Myer, as Arlington National Cemetery was no longer accepting memorials for placement in the cemetery. In 2010, then Secretary of the Army John McHugh issued a memorandum stating that a remembrance ceremony be held at the memorial every year.

 

Due to the current social distancing mandates, this year’s ceremony will be filmed. In coordination with the Mackay, Queensland, branch of the Returned and Services League of Australia, the virtual ceremony will be aired at 8 a.m. June 14, which is 10 p.m. in Australia, via JBM-HH’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/256357185441099/ .

All are invited to view the ceremony, which has a surprising connection to JBM-HH’s current commander. Crew member and navigator of the B17 flying fortress, 2nd Lt. Jack Ogren, is Peeples’ uncle – a fact she discovered shortly before taking command of the joint base.