January 26, 2012
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
January 27, 2012
April 16, 2012
MSG John Franklin Baker, Jr
Dunbar Funerals and Cremations
3926 Devine Street
COLUMBIA - A Funeral service for MSG John Franklin Baker, Jr., US Army (Ret.), 66, will be held on Friday January 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm at the Post Theater on Fort Jackson. Committal service will be, Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:00 am, in Ft. Meyer Memorial Chapel followed by interment in Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors. The family will receive friends from 5-7 pm on Thursday, January 26, 2012 at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel.
MSG Baker, husband of Mrs. Donnell Brazil Baker, died Friday, January 20, 2012. Born October 30, 1945 in Davenport, Iowa, he was a son of the late John Franklin Baker, Sr. and Mary Isabelle Enderton Baker. He graduated from Moline High School in 1966, and later took courses at the University of Hawaii. Baker entered the U.S. Army in Moline, Illinois, serving as a private in "A" Company, 2nd Battalion of the 27th Infantry, known as The "Wolfhounds". He served 300 missions as a "tunnel rat" in Vietnam, a soldier who entered Viet Cong tunnels searching out the enemy and destroying their caches of war material. In Vietnam, Baker took part in Operation Attleboro which began in September 1966. On November 5, 1966, Baker and his unit were called to assist another squad who were taking enemy fire. En route, his Company began to take fire and lost their lead soldier. Together with two other soldiers, Baker took over the head of the column and assisted in destroying two enemy positions. They were moving to take two others when a hand grenade knocked Baker off of his feet. With the two other soldiers wounded, Baker "single handedly" destroyed another bunker before recovering his comrades. Despite taking further fire from enemy bunkers and snipers, Baker continually fell back to replenish ammunition and take back several wounded. For these actions, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968.
Baker made the military his career, retiring in 1989 after serving twenty four years of service for a country that he loved.
MSG Baker began working as a computer analyst at the Dorn Veterans Hospital in Columbia and retired after fifteen years of service. In 2008, the I-280 Bridge, connecting Davenport, Iowa with Rock Island, Illinois, was renamed the Sergeant John F. Baker, Jr. Bridge in his honor. In addition to serving as the Vice-President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, he served as a member on the Nation's Monuments and Cemeteries Committee. John was a member of the VFW, American Legion , Vietnam Veterans of America, 25th Infantry Division Association and the 27th Infantry Regiment Historical Society. As a member of the National Infantry Association, Order of St. Maurice, he was a recipient of the Primicerius Award, which is the highest designation for those who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the Infantry. He was a highly decorated veteran to include; Medal of Honor, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. John was appointed as a Special Deputy with the Richland County Sheriff's Department. He was a collector of Eagles, and often supported Patriotic events at Fort Jackson and in the Midlands of South Carolina.
Surviving are his wife, Donnell G. Baker of Columbia; brothers, William Baker and Charles Baker both of Iowa; sisters, Marilyn Edwards of Oklahoma, Eleanor Gring, Mary Anne McCallum and Gloria Helfrich, all of Iowa; brother-in-law, Dennis M. Brazil of Nevada; numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews; and son, John F. Baker III of Florida. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brothers, Milo Allison and Robert Drury.
Memorials may be made to Medal of Honor Society, 40 Patriots Point Road, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464.
Please sign the online guest book at www.dunbarfunerals.com