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Medal of Honor Roll Call: Vernon J. Baker

This great Wyoming hero waited 52 years for the Medal of Honor he earned in combat in Italy.

We have come to the end of our 50-state tour of Medal of Honor recipients as we come to Vernon J. Baker, from the state Wyoming. Baker was a great WWII hero of the Third Army in Italy and when he recieved his too-long delayed MOH from President William J. Clinton in 1997, he said not only did he have the tank in the Army, Gen. George Patton was told the same thing.

Clinton has critics, but he has nothing but praise from me for his drive to recognize soldiers, who did not receive the MOH they earned because of discrimination.

Make the most of your day!

–RJL

BAKER97

Vernon J. Baker

Citation: For extraordinary heroism in action on 5 and 6 April 1945, near Viareggio, Italy. Then Second Lieutenant Baker demonstrated outstanding courage and leadership in destroying enemy installations, personnel, and equipment during his company’s attack against a strongly entrenched enemy in mountainous terrain. When his company was stopped by the concentration of fire from several machine gun emplacements, he crawled to one position and destroyed it, killing three Germans. Continuing forward, he attacked an enemy observation post and killed two occupants. With the aid of one of his men, Lieutenant Baker attacked two more machine gun nests, killing or wounding the four enemy soldiers occupying these positions. He then covered the evacuation of the wounded personnel of his company by occupying an exposed position and drawing the enemy’s fire. On the following night Lieutenant Baker voluntarily led a battalion advance through enemy mine fields and heavy fire toward the division objective. Second Lieutenant Baker’s fighting spirit and daring leadership were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.

 

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Written By

Robert J. Laplander is a military historian and the the author of Finding the Lost Battalion and other works. You may see his endeavors at www.lulu.com/lostbattalion or: http://bit.ly/kUcnN2

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