Page County

Lt. Vernon J. Baker


Medal of Honor


Men and Women in Service


Clarinda -- Distinguished Service Cross to 1st Lt. Vernon J. Baker, for gallantry in action with 92nd infantry division, all-Negro outfit, in the north Appenines of Italy on April 15. Lt. Baker, a 1939 Clarinda high school graduate, destroyed three enemy machine guns and an observation post in an attack which earned him the DSC, the nation's second highest award for valor. He was the first 92nd division officer to win the coveted medal.

Lt. Baker, an outstanding athlete at Clarinda high, entered the army in June 1941, was graduated from officer training school at Ft. Benning, Ga., in January 1942.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, July 19, 1945

Medal of Honor Citation -  First Lieutenant  Vernon Baker, U.S. Army
Issue Date: 1/13/1997

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.

Source: Congressional Medal of Honor Society website (photo included)