Segment 9

Annotation

Baker was volunteered to go back up to Hill X by a colonel. He reported to the commanding officer of the 473rd [Annotator's Note: 473rd Infantry Regiment] and was assigned to bring them back up Hill X but not a shot was fired. All the Germans had moved out. They saw a lot of shoeless American GIs because the Germans had taken their boots. They went all the way to Montignoso, Italy. In Viareggio, Baker was sitting in a tent and Lieutenant from S-2 came in. Baker was talking to Joe West, a ukulele player. The Lieutenant asked Baker when he was going to Division. Baker asked him why he would go there and the Lieutenant told him he was getting a DSC [Annotator's Note: Distinguished Service Cross]. Baker was very surprised. In June 1945 he was summoned to division headquarters. He reported to the commanding general, General Almond [Annotator's note: Edward "Ned" Almond, commander of the 92nd Infantry Division]. He thought he was in trouble. Baker doesn't know who wrote the citation for the DSC or how it got to army headquarters because if Almond had seen it at the division level it would never have gotten through as Almond was racist. General Almond told Baker to write down what had happened on Hill X. [Annotator's note: tape is changed] So Baker wrote it all down. He never saw him until he was awarded the medal in Genoa. Getting the Medal of Honor never crossed his mind. He felt he did his job, was awarded for it, and then it was time to move on. He stayed in Italy until February 1947. He stayed in the military for 28 years and retired a Colonel. After he left the military he went to work for the Red Cross helping military families at Fort Ord, California. He lived nearby and worked for them for the Red Cross until May 1989. Then he moved to Idaho. He likes the people and liked hunting here. White people would stop and talk to him and be friendly. That hadn't happened in other places in the United States. Baker liked the anonymity.

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