Medal of Honor recipient Army Master Sgt. John F. Baker Jr.
Only a few short months after John F. Baker Jr. began his Army training, he was shipped off to Vietnam with the 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.
A private first class at the time, 19-year-old Baker said he and his company went out in the jungles for weeks at a time on combat patrols.
Baker had been in Vietnam for only two months, when, on Nov. 5, 1966, he and his company were called to help rescue another unit that had been surrounded by Viet Cong.
On the way there they were ambushed, and the man at the front of Baker’s unit was killed instantly.
An assistant machine-gun bearer at the time, Baker immediately moved to the head of the group, and, with another soldier, knocked out two enemy bunkers.
Throughout the ordeal, Baker repeatedly assaulted the enemy and pulled wounded soldiers to safety.
At one point, he was blown off his feet by a grenade, but he recovered and single-handedly took out another bunker, then another.
When the battle was over, Baker had saved eight of his fellow soldiers, knocked out six Viet Cong machine gun bunkers, and killed 10 enemy soldiers, including several snipers.
His courage and commitment under fire earned him the Medal of Honor in 1968, which he received from President Lyndon B. Johnson.
In August of this year, Baker was honored by US Army Garrison Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, which named a street after him.
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