MSG John Franklin Baker, Jr

  • Born: October 30, 1945
  • Died: January 20, 2012
  • Location: Columbia, South Carolina

Dunbar Funerals and Cremations

3926 Devine Street
Columbia, SC 29205
Tel. (803) 771-7990

Tribute & Message From The Family

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

Condolence & Memory Journal

Served with A Co, 2/27 from Mar 65-Mar 66.
Was hit in Feb and medevaced out. Didn't know John well, sorry to hear he passed

Posted by Roy w King - LaGrange, GA - Brother-in-Arms   September 06, 2014

Thanks from Our Hearts for His Military Service..

God Bless

Posted by DAVID & JUDY STRATTON - Apple Valley, CA   February 03, 2012

Farewell to a True American Hero, One who loved his country in time of War and In peace. Thank you for your years of service to our nation and to our nations veterans.

It was a honor for our veterans organization to have you join us. It was a source of great pride to have you as part of our group.

May you find lasting peace, good bye our friend.

Chapter 303, Vietnam Veterans Of America

Posted by Frank Weick - Columbia, SC - Fellow Vietnam Veteran   January 31, 2012

The Society only had a few months to value you as an Honored Member. We will miss you, as will the Country you gave so much for.

To the family, our sincere condolences.

Posted by Al Ankrum, NC, Scottish American Military Society - Rutherfordton, NC - Fellow Veteran   January 29, 2012

Uncle John was a HERO to our family! I always looked up to him and was greatful to have him as a personal example of committment and integrity. I'll miss you Uncle Johnny!!! God Bless you! Love Always, your Nephew....David.

Posted by David Lee Cunningham - Milwaukee, WI - Nephew   January 28, 2012


I had the honor and pleasure of meeting MSgt Baker at the MOH Convention in 2000. He was a great Hero and American. I am proud to have known him for a brief time.

Posted by Richard P Ryan - Las Vegas, NV - Admirer   January 28, 2012


John you will be missed so very much. I Will aways remember you as a very nice person...

Posted by SHARON & SUSAN DRURY - ONTARIO - NIECE   January 28, 2012


My prayers are with your family.

Posted by BERNICE WARD - Conway, SC - Government Employee   January 27, 2012

MSG Baker served his country well.
Our loss is heaven's gain.
Semper Fi

Posted by Thomas C Rollins, USMC 1969-71 - Columbia, SC   January 27, 2012

Aunt Donnell,
I am so sorry for what you are going through. Know the family loves you very much! Johnny lived a very fulfilling grand life. He has done things as just one man that would otherwise take many. He is a hero to America, he is a hero to all of us. But that is not all he will be remembered for. I have always felt a special relationship with uncle Johnny since I was very young. When asked as a child to write about a hero, he is who I chose to write about. I remember calling and doing interviews with him a couple times a year. I wish Kali was old enough to really remember him, but I promise, she will know so much of him. And of course of you as well! I still have a picture of you and her and was looking at it the other day. I can't imagine what you are going through. But I love you very much and let uncl Johnny's spirit keep you strong.
Love always,
Mandi Cunningham

Posted by Amanda Cunningham - moline, IL - great neice   January 27, 2012

I did not have the privilige to meet Mr. Baker but by reading his bio, I know heaven's streets are safer today with MSG Baker patrolling them. Semper Fidelis.

Posted by Keith White - Lexington, SC - Fellow service member   January 27, 2012


I will always love you John....and you will live on in my memories and will NEVER be forgotten.I am so proud and blessed to have had you in my life and have always felt close to you,Istill remember when we used to go to your house and mom and dad played cards with you but you always made sure I knew how much you loved me.Donelle,I just want you to know how sorry I am and that I've ALWAYS felt of you as family,I love you and you gave my Uncle such a wonderful life.Please always keep in touch and know if you ever need me I'll always be here.

Posted by Debbie Cunningham - Davenport, IA - Johnny's Niece   January 27, 2012

I was deeply saddened to learn of MSG Baker's passing, and extend my condolences.

Even though I did not know MSG Baker we share a common bond. I served our country in 1968, 69 &70.

We served at a time that was callenging and difficult for our country. We only found out about the lack of support for US troops when we returned home.

Our prayer is that God will comfort you in your time of sorrow and you remain in our thoughts. We salute our brother and thank him for his service to our country.

Posted by Ben Kinlaw - Barnwell, SC - Brother In Arms   January 27, 2012



Patricia & I would like to express our deepest sympathies for your loss of John.

Craig & Patricia Allison

Posted by Craig R. Allison and Patricia A. Allison - Colona, IL - Nephew   January 27, 2012

MSGT John F. Baker, Jr.

Proud American, Gallant Soldier and Dearest Friend.

Knowing John made me so proud to be an American and a Veteran.

His humble beginnings are a true American Success Story of Service to America for his Bravery and his Dedication to his men in combat.

John was dedicated to his Country, to his Army, and to his Donnell.

He raised millions of dollars to assist our Veteran's and children.

Rest easy, sleep well my Brotherknow the line has heldyour job is done!

Peace and Farewell my Friend.

Jack H. Brown and the Stater Bros. Family.

Posted by Jack H. Brown - San Bernardino, CA - Friend   January 26, 2012

Soar on Eagles Wings

Posted by A.R. Cady - Lexington, SC - RVN-68-69 USMC   January 26, 2012

I had the great privilege of meeting and working with MSG Baker during the CMOH Meeting in Charleston. He was a man of dignity and humility and got the necessary work done efficiently and took a quiet pride in his service to the Society. I am very sorry for your loss and also for our loss of such a fine Gentleman and Warrior.
Mike Mercer CDR USN (Ret)

Posted by CDR Michael Mercer USN (Ret) - Summerville, SC   January 26, 2012

I feel honored and blessed to have known John. He was a Great American and I will miss him dearly. My most sincere sympathy to his beloved wife Donnell and their family. Rest in Peace my friend.

Posted by Marilyn Ryan - Corona, CA - Friend   January 26, 2012

Ms. Donnell--I send this message with a deep sorrow for you and your family. Our country has lost more than a hero, and you so much more than a husband. We are remembered by a sum of all the parts of our life as well as by the associations we make and the influence we have in other's lives. John was a great man who will be remembered and admired by all. He was a true American hero and though he will no longer be here in body, he will most certainly be here in our memories.

Semper Fi

Posted by MSgt Glen A. Molen USMC Ret'd - Lexington, SC   January 25, 2012

John seemed always a great man, but humble. John Baker was the epitome of a hero and a wondderfulguy to have known.
Like Audie Murphy, He would have been a superb Marine.

Posted by Jim Seay - Irmo, SC - friend & /member of Marine Corps   January 25, 2012

John, Always carried the MOH with honor and made all of us proud to call him "friend". We'll miss him very much.

Posted by CSM David M. Pelletier, SCSG - Hanahan, SC - Friend, MOHRed Shirt Volunteer   January 25, 2012

Thank you for serving for our freedom and this great country. The United States of America. May God you and your family.

Posted by Cpl. John Pisarcik - Greenville, SC - Friend and fellow soldier.   January 25, 2012

It is with heartfelt sympathy and deepest regrets to the family and friends of MSG Baker. I had the utmost priviledge of meeting MSG Baker while volunteering at the Medal of Honor Convention in Charleston in 2010. Rest in Peace to a true American hero.
With kindest regards,
Marilyn Pearcy

Posted by Marilyn Pearcy - Summerville, SC   January 25, 2012

My sincere condolences go to the family and friends. As a soldier serving my country in Germany I am proud to follow in his foot steps. A MSGis a rank to be feared because this is the rank that will let us know when we messed up and also let us know when we have done well.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Posted by William Stuckley - Columbia, SC - Fellow Army Soldier   January 25, 2012

Please accept our condolences on the loss of such an American hero. I saw the news story last night and just wanted to let his family know that we appreciate his sacrifices and service to our country. May he rest in peace and may you all be comforted by your memories of him during this difficult time. God bless.

Posted by Betsy - SC   January 25, 2012

Such a great loss is felt nationwide. I had the honor of meeting John several times, he was the epitome of greatness. He will be missed by all who had the privilege of being in his presence

Posted by Leo H Korth - Davenport, IA   January 25, 2012

I had hopes of re-uniting this August in Baltimore at the Wolfhounds reeunion. A lot of sand has passed through the hour glass my friend. You will be missed, but not forgotten.
Go in peace
Hounds forever
Nec Aspera Terrent

Posted by Chuck Dean - Opelika, AL - Brother in arms   January 25, 2012

I am so glad we got to have Christmas Dinner together this year. I reviewed the photos today of John with the Chapin Choral Group. He was happy and he brought much pride to all around him. Al of us at the PMD want you to know that we love you very much and will be thinking of you often.

Posted by LTC Charles R. Campbell - Clinton, SC - SC State Guard Provost Marshal   January 25, 2012

Donnell--it is with deep sorrow that I send this message. I remember you and John at many of the functions of the Speedy Wilson Detachment. He was always admired by all. A true American hero has left us in body, but will remain as such in our memories.

Semper Fi

Jim Vinyard

Posted by Captain jim Vinyard, USMC - York, SC   January 25, 2012


I was so sorry to hear about John today. I only just caught the end of story on the news & to do a search to find out more.

I remember reading about him in the paper years ago & I was astounded. He was such a simple unassuming man - he would just go out & smoke on the landing and be so nice & friendly. Little did we know about his heroic deeds during his time in the service.

My thoughts are with you. I know you will be missing his presence, his companionship and love for a long time.

In case you don't remember my name I was your next door neighbor at Quail Run.

Take care,
Ann Fitzgerald

Posted by Ann Fitzgerald - Columbia, SC - Previous neighbor   January 24, 2012

John, I am so proud to have known you. You will be greatly missed by the many that love and respect you. Godspeed my friend.

Posted by Philip Davenport - Columbia, SC - Friend   January 24, 2012

John we will all miss you so very much. I have know you for the past 4 years and I am very himble to ever be in your presence. You have done so much for The Veterans in Dorn VA Hospital, The USO, you cared so much about our Veterans. I am so proud to have known you and I will never forget The Medal of Honor Society convention in Charleston it will always be one of my greatest moments, thank you for that honor and the coin you presented me this year at The Vets Ride Meeting I will cherish always. Rest in piece and know how much you were loved and appreicated for all that you gave us. Jim and Jackie wertman

Posted by Jim Wertman - Batesburg, SC - Friend   January 24, 2012

Thank You MSG Baker for your service and your leadership.You are the symbol of a true soldier and a remarkable man.
Thank you.

Posted by SSGT Chris McAlister - Appling,Georgia, GA - South Carolina State Guard   January 24, 2012

John will be missed by many.

Posted by Don & Linda Deering - Marine Corps League Friend   January 24, 2012


John, you are now free to soar with the eagles you so dearly love.
My condolences to Donnell and the Baker family.
It was a once in a lifetime privilege to be in the company of and work with John and Donnell during the 2009 Chicago Society convention.
Rest in peace brave warrior.

Posted by Chris Hansley - Tinley Park, IL   January 24, 2012

We are proud & honored to be a neighbor - our deepest sympathy.

Posted by Jeff Lummel & Karen - Columbia, SC - Neighbor   January 24, 2012


I drive over the bridge that is dedicated to this Hero on the way to work every day. I stop at the area where he is honored at the Casino and honor him and also remember those who lost their lives in VietNam. I was a member of the 25th Infantry Division also and am honored to have served in the same division as he. Many are called and few are chosen, RIP.

Posted by Darrell R. Vincent - Alpha, IL - Fellow 25th Infantry   January 24, 2012


Thank you for your service

Posted by Craig & Cindy Hoogheem - Morrison, IL   January 23, 2012

America has lost a great Patriot. May God lift him up and grant him eternal peace. We are all fortunate that he served our country with such distinction.

Posted by Butch Sincock - Flourtown, PA - Fellow 25th Div. Veteran   January 23, 2012


Thank you John Baker and wife Donnell for coming to Indianapolis this past October. It was an honor to have you help dedicate the Indianapolis Medal of Honor Bridge. John, thank you for your valiant service and the honor that you brought to the medal. It was an honor to meet you and you will surely be missed by your comrades and many, many others. Love to you and your family. You were a giant to all!
Love and Blessings,
Jill Fewell and the entire Indiana Air Search and Rescue Crew & Medal of Honor Bridge Committee

Posted by Jill Fewell - Indianapolis, IN - Friend   January 23, 2012

Our most sincere thoughts and prayers of sympathy are with you during your time of loss. May God Bless and keep you.

Posted by Jimmy R. Williams CW4 (RET) - Darlington, SC - Veterans Affairs Officer   January 23, 2012

It was such an HONOR to have met Sgt Baker. My deepest condolences go out to you Darlene and the rest of the family. We have lost a HERO. I will always treasure and respect the coin John shared with me and I display it PROUDLY. My prayers and love.

Posted by Marci Meyerowich - Tequesta, FL   January 23, 2012


Having met MSG Baker, I can say that he was the most humble man I have known. This country lost a great patriot.

Posted by David Davis - Lexington, SC   January 23, 2012


Just a fine, fine man, soldier, hero and activist. May God's peace envelop him and let the example of his quiet service pass to us all.

Posted by Mark Manczuk - Columbia, SC - Friend   January 23, 2012

we will miss u soo much. we all had good memories. we all love you.

love always
tiffy baker

Posted by tiffany baker - muscatine, IA - family   January 23, 2012

It was an honor and pleasure to have met John and to have him participate with Chapter P in the Veteran's Charity Rides over the last several years. He will be greatly missed.

Posted by Eric Prevost - West Columbia, SC - GWRRA Lexington Area Wings   January 23, 2012

Grant unto him eternal rest, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him. Amen.

Posted by US Army Veteran - Fairfax, VA - Military Comrade   January 23, 2012

RIP my Hero! I cant say Thank you enough! My thoughts and prayers go out to your wife and family - may they find the peace they need at this difficult time!

Posted by emelie pappas - DeQuincy, LA - a friend   January 23, 2012


Donnell, Our thoughts and prayers are with you your family. It was an honor and privlage to be able to call you both friends. I still remember meeting you both for the first time and talking to John about being the Honorary Grand Marshall of the annual Christmas Veterans Motorcycle Ride. John did not hesitate but immediately said yes and has has led the motorcycle ride for the past 5 years, rain or shine. This was the beginning of our 5 year friendship. We will miss John but hope to maintain our friendship with you.

Posted by John & Cynthia Berry - Columbia, SC - Neighbor & Friend   January 23, 2012

The staff of Dunbar Funeral Home extends our deepest sympathies to the Baker family.

Posted by Greg Dunbar - Columbia, SC   January 22, 2012

Default Album

Life Stories

John and I were together in Vietnam. We were both in A Co.2/27 in 1966 and were both in Operation Attleboro. It was a hard time and we lost several friends. I lost touch with John after leaving Vietnam and it wasn't until I heard he and Captain Foley had been awarded the CMOH that I was able to get back in touch. He laughed about the ceremony because Captain Foley was so tall and he was not, and President Johnson didn't want to be pictured next to the Captain. The picture I have posted is one that John sent me and is one of the few that does not show his MOH. The picture has faded with age so the color isn't true, but I guess we have gone through that process over time.

So, goodbye brother Wolfhound - You now fly with the Eagles you loved. Please accept my deepest sympathy to John's family. His smile and soft spoken voice will be missed.

I wish to send condolences to the Family of MSGT Baker from Vietnam Veteans of America, Chapter 1016, Anderson, SC.
His departing is another lose of one of the heroes of this country.
Welcome Home Brother, Welcome Home.