Tech4 Michael Bakos Name : Michael Bakos
Rank : Technician 4th Class
Battalion : 759th Tank Battalion
Group : 4th Cavalry Group
Entered Service from : Pennsylvania
Year of Birth : 1921
Date of Death : 2 November 1944
Place of Death : Vicinity Elsenborn, Belgium
In Henri-Chapelle : Plot H, Row 4, Grave 39
Awards : Purple Heart

Michael Bakos' Story ...

Michael Bakos was the son of Gyorgy (George) and Verona (Veronica) Bakos. Michael was born in Hungary and he lived the first years of his life in Minoj (Hungary) which was then part of the Czech Republic. At first the family consisted of father and mother and three children, including Michael and his two half siblings Mary and George (Juray). After the hardship endured by many people during World War I, many people made the move to the United States to find a new life in better conditions. The Bakos family was no exception. Plans were made and three years after the war ended Gyorgy made the first steps towards Ellis Island in the United States ...


Ellis Island and the arrivals

In 1921 his father Gyorgy immigrated to the United States. The rest of the family joined him in the United States after immigrating in 1925. They left the port of Bremen on Tuesday 8 September 1925 at 4:55 PM aboard the American Government Steamship "President Roosevelt". They arrived at Ellis Island where the family was detained a day for reasons unknown. The cost of passage on Veronica's manifest was $307.50 for the 4 passengers.

the American Government Steamship "President Roosevelt"

the ticket for Michael's trip to the United States

After reuniting, the family was completed in the United States when Michael's youngest brother Stephen and his youngest sister Elizabeth were born. The family worshiped at Holy Trinity Church in Philadelphia. The Church was a Byzantine Catholic Church and Michael's father was the first parishioner. Sadly his mother Veronica died in 1936 at a very young age of 38 years. Michael's father became a citizen of the United States in 1944. He was able to speak English, but also Hungarian with his children, which he preferred. English stayed a problem for him al of his life. He also spoke Russian and Polish.

Michael's sister Elizabeth

With a new war brewing all over the world, especially in the continent where he was born, Europe, Michael enlisted in the US Army in Philadelphia on Saturday 2 March 1940. Hitler's forces had invaded Poland in early September 1939 and all of Europe had been threatened. It would last another one and a half years before Japan rudely awakened the United States ... on 7 December 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked and only days later the United States were involved in a world wide war. By then Michael had already been training for a war he probably knew was inevitable leaving the streets of Philadelphia behind him forever ...

Broad Street in Philadelphia, 1920

Michael's unit, the 759th Tank Battalion was activated in June 1941 as a light tank battalion, equipped with M3 Stuart tanks, and sent to Iceland as part of the garrison force in mid 1942. After a year it moved to the United Kingdom, in mid 1943, and was landed in Normandy on D+10, 16 June 1944. At first Michael's unit was attached to the 2nd Infantry Division and fought in the St-Lo area. When the 2nd Division moved westwards towards Brest in mid-August, the battalion was attached to the 4th Cavalry Group, with which it would serve for the remainder of the war.

two soldiers of the Michael's Battalion: Orgegon and Ranto

Moving eastwards, it crossed the Seine north of Paris in late August with VII Corps, then over the Meuse, entering Germany on 13 September. In December, it moved north into the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge, and was the first unit to receive the M24 Chaffee tank, however Michael would not be around to enjoy this new tank. He was resting in a temporary cemetery somewhere in Belgium, in unknown soil, thousands of miles away from home ... his short, but valued life ended on November 2, 1944 when he died of wounds sustained in battle.

the temporary US Military Cemetery Henri-Chapelle

Michael most probably was wounded when his unit was holding a line southwest of the Hurtgen Forest around Elsenborn and Malmedy, facing the Siegfriedline. The following was stated in the after action reports of that month: "During the period 1 November to 11 November 1944 the 759th Light Tank Battalion (plus "B" Company, 257th Engineers Battalion, attached), attached to 4th Cavalry Group was in position holding a defensive sector of the front and also operating mounted patrols over routes indioatod. During this time many enemy patrols attempted to penetrate our lines but all were unsuccessful and usually left killed or captured personnel behind."

Vehicles moving to Elsenborn

"The Assault Gun Platoon was particularly active during this period, firing, harassing and interdictory missions day and night placing observed fire on targets of opportunity. On one occasion, observing an enemy CP (Command Post) being set-up, three rounds of HE (High Explosives) were fired, killing one man, probably killing two others and destroying a BC scope. The CP was never used, Another time a CP was observed camouflaged as a haystack. This was fired on and hit causing an undetermined number of casualties as ambulances were observed making several trips to and from the target."

The day Michael Bakos died of his wounds, a total of eleven soldiers of Michael's unit where severly wounded, one was lightly wounded and one other was Killed in Action ... all on just another day in the war: 2 November 1944 ...

Germans plan for Elsenborn Ridge, December 1944

For Michael's father George it would last another thirty-one years before he would be reunited his wife Veronica and his son Michael ... he died in 1975 at 89 years of age.

These days Michael Bakos rests in the beautiful American Military Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle ... He is remembered and honored by his niece Linda Lincoln and by his entire family. He is honored by every visitor of the American Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle and by every visitor of this website.

Technician 4th Class Michael Bakos' final resting place
Special thanks to Michael's niece Linda Lincoln