Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 105th Infantry,
27th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Saipan, Mariana Islands, 19 June
to 7 July 1944.
Entered service at: Troy, N.Y.
Birth: Troy, N.Y.
35, 9 May 1945.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at
the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty at Saipan, Mariana
Islands, 19 June to 7 July 1944. When his entire company was held up by
fire from automatic weapons and small-arms fire from strongly fortified
enemy positions that commanded the view of the company, Sgt. (then Pvt.)
Baker voluntarily took a bazooka and dashed alone to within 100 yards of
the enemy. Through heavy rifle and machinegun fire that was directed at
him by the enemy, he knocked out the strong point, enabling his company
to assault the ridge. Some days later while his company advanced across
the open field flanked with obstructions and places of concealment for
the enemy, Sgt. Baker again voluntarily took up a position in the rear
to protect the company against surprise attack and came upon 2 heavily
fortified enemy pockets manned by 2 officers and 10 enlisted men which
had been bypassed. Without regard for such superior numbers, he unhesitatingly
attacked and killed all of them. Five hundred yards farther, he discovered
6 men of the enemy who had concealed themselves behind our lines and destroyed
all of them. On 7 July 1944, the perimeter of which Sgt. Baker was a part
was attacked from 3 sides by from 3,000 to 5,000 Japanese. During the early
stages of this attack, Sgt. Baker was seriously wounded but he insisted
on remaining in the line and fired at the enemy at ranges sometimes as
close as 5 yards until his ammunition ran out. Without ammunition and with
his own weapon battered to uselessness from hand-to-hand combat, he was
carried about 50 yards to the rear by a comrade, who was then himself wounded.
At this point Sgt. Baker refused to be moved any farther stating that he
preferred to be left to die rather than risk the lives of any more of his
friends. A short time later, at his request, he was placed in a sitting
position against a small tree . Another comrade, withdrawing, offered assistance.
Sgt. Baker refused, insisting that he be left alone and be given a soldier's
pistol with its remaining 8 rounds of ammunition. When last seen alive,
Sgt. Baker was propped against a tree, pistol in hand, calmly facing the
foe. Later Sgt. Baker's body was found in the same position, gun empty,
with 8 Japanese lying dead before him. His deeds were in keeping with the
highest traditions of the U.S. Army.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)