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Baker was born in Marietta, Ohio in 1923. He attended Indiana University and was in the ROTC program. Despite being in officer training, Baker was drafted in 1943. He was sent to Camp Hood, Texas. At Camp Hood, he trained for half track combat in North Africa. He wanted out of that outfit. He applied for ASTP [Annotator's Note: Army Specialized Training Program] and was sent to Kansas University. The Army canceled the program there and he was sent to Oklahoma with the 42nd Rainbow Division. He remembers taking basic training on 38 cal. water-cooled machine guns in a heavy weapons platoon.Baker deployed overseas to Alsace Lorraine, near Strasburg. He remembers being on guard duty on Christmas Eve [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: 1944]. It was freezing and the weather was terrible. He encountered battle for the first time just after Christmas that lasted until March of 1945. They moved throughout Germany. He remembers the tree bursts and shrapnel from German artillery while they marched through the forests of Alsace Lorraine. In March of 1945, Baker remembers being in a foxhole with the platoon sergeant as a runner when a captain told him to report to battalion headquarters. He was promoted to the rank of 2nd lieutenant. He had no paperwork or insignia to prove he was an officer. He was sent back to his old platoon, he was not happy about it, but it was fine in the end.They crossed the Rhine River at Worms and were sent to Schweinfurt, Bavaria. Baker and his platoon were told to protect rail yards in the city. They were not far from the German lines.Â
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