Military Times NOW hosts the HomeOfHeroes  Awards & Citations Database

 

Stories of American Heroes - Brought to you from the "Home of Heroes" - Pueblo, Colorado

News From The Past

CNN
January 13, 1997

African-American vet receives Medal of Honor

He earned it 52 years ago

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- With quiet dignity, former 2nd Lt. Vernon Baker of the 370th Infantry Regiment accepted the Medal of Honor, and the nation's silent apology.

Baker, 77, of St. Maries, Idaho, was one of seven African- American soldiers awarded the Medal of Honor on Monday for World War II valor, an achievement ignored for decades by the once-segregated Army.

Baker was the only veteran still living to accept the honor, the military's highest award for bravery in battle, in person. Relatives of the others attended in their place.

"They helped America to become more worthy of them and more true to its ideals," President Clinton said at the White House ceremony.

Baker said the moment took him back to April 1945, when he destroyed four German machine gun nests killed nine enemy soldiers with a gun and hand grenades. He thought of the other black men who died around him as they awaited reinforcements that never came.

"This day will vindicate those men and make things right," Baker said in a CNN interview.

Baker received a standing ovation as he entered the East Room before a crowd that included Defense Secretary William Perry, retired Gen. Colin Powell and Joint Chiefs Chairman John Shalikashvili.

More than 1.2 million African-Americans served in World War II, most performing menial support tasks in a segregated army. Despite numerous battlefield decorations, no blacks who served in that war had been awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medals were awarded posthumously to:


Carter


Fox


Rivers


Thomas


Watson

Fox, James, Rivers and Watson were killed in action. Carter died in 1963 and Thomas died in 1980.

Baker said he would have liked to share the moment with the others honored.

"No, I still don't feel like a hero. I just feel I was a soldier and I did my job, and I think I was rewarded for it," Baker said after the ceremony.

Baker is a modest man, and it was not the pomp and ceremony that touched him most. It was the fact that, at long last, his country righted a historical wrong for black soldiers.

"It has a conscience, and it's clearing its conscience, thank God."

 

Return To The

Archives Index

 

Home Page

Hall Of Heroes

MOH Community 

NEWS

Kidz Page

FEATURE STORIES
  Profiles In Courage | Wings of ValorThe Brotherhood of Soldiers At War | Go For Broke
 Pearl Harbor  | A Splendid Little War | Shinmiyangyo-Korea 1871 | Quick Links to MOH Stories

RECIPIENT WEB SITES
Barney Barnum  |  Jack Lucas  |  Mitch Paige  |  Wesley Fox  |  Sammy Davis
Roger Donlon
Peter Lemon  |  Drew Dix  |  Mike Novosel

Medal Of Honor Calendar  |  Books By MOH RecipientsSteve Ryan MOH Posters

What Does 
A Hero Look Like?

Click on Superman To Find out


FOOTNOTES
In
HISTORY

NEW
Looking for a Hero or trying to verify awards? We have posted the names of more than 120,000 recipients of the highest awards in a BRAND NEW FREE SECTION
DECORATIONS 1862 - Present
.

Military Medals & Awards 

Information and Images of ALL Military Medals
The Purple Heart 
How to Request Records/Medals Earned
  How to Obtain Military Records of a Family Member 

Honor Roll of America's Military Heroes


Brevet Medal


DSC 


Navy Cross 


Air Force Cross 

Distinguished Service Medals

Defense - Army - Navy - Air Force - Coast Guard - Merchant Marine



Silver Star

U.S. History and Information
The History Room | U.S. Flag HistoryHistory of the Flag |
How to Display the Flag
| The National Anthem | The Pledge of Allegiance The American Creed | The Seal of our Nation | Our National Symbol
Arthur MacArthur's Flag | William Carney's Flag | FDR's Flag of Liberation]

FLAG DAY           STATE FLAGS
American Presidents
U.S. Presidents | Inaugural Addresses

God & Country
ROOM

MY HERO Web Page Creator 
(Create a Tribute to the Hero in Your Own Life)

SEARCH
bn_search.jpg (3967 bytes)
OUR SITE

EDUCATIONAL

GAME ARCADE

OR
Quick Quiz

***
Electronic Post Cards
Talking Points 

Remembering 911
The Binch
Citizens Speak Out

BEYOND THE MEDAL

This 5 Disc DVD Education Program has been distributed to over 17,500 Public & Private High Schools and is now available to the public!


 

HomeOfHeroes.com now has more than 25,000 pages of US History for you to view.