|Birth: ||Dec. 17, 1919|
|Death: ||Jul. 13, 2010|
World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. A former railroad worker, he joined the US Army in 1941, completed officer training, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in January 1943. In June of 1944 he was deployed to Italy with the segregated 270th Regiment of the 92nd Infantry Division, which was activated for combat early the next year. During the attack on the German stronghold of Castle Aghinolfi (April 1945), Baker lead his platoon through the German defenses and personally destroyed three machine gun nests, two observations posts, two bunkers, and German telephone lines. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his efforts, and would later receive the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campain Medal, American Defense Service Metal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Croce Al Valor Militare (an Italian Decoration), and World War II Victory Medal. After the war Baker remained in the Army until 1968, retiring with the rank of First Lieutenant. In 1993, the Army commissioned a study to investigate discrimination in the standard for awarding medals during World War II. It concluded that seven African-American Distinguished Service Cross recipients should have their medals upgraded to the the Congressional Medal of Honor; Vernon Baker was one of them, and the only one still living at that time. He was presented with the CMOH by President Bill Clinton on January 13, 1997. His citation reads: "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 and 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."
Arlington National Cemetery
Plot: Section 59, Site 4417
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Arthur Allen "Art" Moore...
Record added: Jul 17, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 55072453
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