Sgt THOMAS A. BAKER
Co A, 105th Infantry, 27th ID
Saipan, Mariana Islands
19 June to 7 July 1944
During heavy fighting against heavily entrenched enemy forces Sgt (then Pvt) Baker’s company was pinned down by heavy automatic weapons and small-arms fire.
Sgt. Baker grabbed a bazooka and sprinted through heavy rifle and machinegun fire to within 100 yards of the enemy, where he knocked out the position giving his platoon a chance to move forward and take the fight to the enemy.
Some days later while his company advanced across the open field, Sgt. Baker took up a position in the rear to protect the company against surprise attack. As he was checking their rear he came upon 2 heavily fortified enemy positions which had been bypassed.
There were 10 enlisted and 2 officers between the 2 enemy positions – Baker killed them.
He continued to pick up the rear and look for enemy hideouts and discovered 6 enemy who were concealed and preparing ambush – He killed them too.
On the 7th, Baker’s perimeter was attacked on 3 sides by a force of between 3000 and 5000 enemy troops.
Sgt. Baker was seriously wounded in the initial attack but insisted on remaining in the line and fired at the enemy at ranges as close as 5 yards until his ammunition ran out.
Without ammunition, he used his weapon as a club in hand to hand combat until it was broken to the point of being useless as a club.
His unit pulled back and Baker was carried about 50 yards to the rear by a fellow soldier.
Sgt. Baker refused to be moved again saying he preferred to be left to die rather than risk the lives of any more of his friends.
He ordered his men to place him in a sitting position facing the enemy. He held a .45 with just 8 rounds in the clip,
When last seen alive, Sgt. Baker was propped against a tree, pistol in hand, calmly picking off enemy soldiers as they advanced.
When his unit retook the field they found Sgt. Baker’s body still leaning up against his tree; weapon dry… surrounded by dead enemy soldiers.