Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker dies

Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker dies
July 16th, 2010  

Topic: Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker dies

Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker dies
May he rest in peace.

ST. MARIES, Idaho -- Vernon Baker, the last living black soldier who belatedly received the Medal of Honor for his role in World War II, died at his home near St. Maries, Idaho. He was 90.
Baker died Tuesday of complications of brain cancer, Benewah County coroner Ron Hodge said.
In 1945, Vernon Baker was a second lieutenant in the "Buffalo Soldiers" unit when he led his platoon on a two-day assault against a German-occupied castle in the mountains of Italy.
On April 5, he and his soldiers found themselves behind enemy lines near Viareggio, Italy, and under concentrated enemy fire Baker and his platoon crawled to several machine gun nests, destroying them and killing 26 Germans.
As a young man, Baker represented a true American patriot. But because of the color of his skin, it took years for anyone to notice.
That changed in 1997, when the humble and quiet Saint Maries man was invited to the White House and given the nation's highest honor by then-president Bill Clinton.
"It brings back things that I thought I'd forgotten," Baker recalled.
Baker's memories were shared with the nation in 2006 in a Tom Brokaw special that aired during the closing ceremonies of the Torino games.
It was a tribute to the only living African American World War II vet awarded the Medal of Honor.
But Baker remained modest about all the recognition.
"A medal didn't mean a damn thing to me. Cause there were 13 lives that every time I'd wake up in the morning, I'd see some of them and all they did when they looked at me, they told me thank you, Vernon," said Baker.
The 13 other soldiers from Baker's platoon had already passed away.
And after an extensive review of military records -- seven of them, including Baker were found deserving of the honor.
Despite being nearly forgotten -- their memory now lives on, throughout the nation -- and right here in Idaho -- in the form of painted portraits.
"When I look at that picture I see 13 men that gave up their lives for this country," said Baker.
Baker has also been honored with a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and a Distinguished Service Cross.
Baker celebrated his 90th birthday in December.
In his honor, Gov. Butch Otter proclaimed December 17, 2009, "Vernon J. Baker Day."
July 16th, 2010  
A Can of Man
Rest in Peace, sir.
July 16th, 2010  
A true hero indeed.....

Vaya con dios, brave man...
Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker dies
July 17th, 2010  
May this honorable man rest in peace.