By Lynn R. Parks

Ralph Baker, Bethel, is being honored by the Delaware Army National Guard. A retired chief warrant officer with the National Guard, Baker is this yearís camp honoree.

Throughout the training year, Bakerís name will appear on all Delaware Army National Guard correspondence regarding annual training. His name will also go on the sign at the Fort Miles training facility in Bethany Beach, replacing the name of last yearís honoree, Oscar E. Trivits.

In addition, Baker will be invited to all Delaware Army National Guard training sessions, where he will be able to spend a couple days observing training exercises. The training sessions take place throughout the year, all over the world.

"Wherever they go, Iíll go," said Baker, 85.

Baker grew up in Laurel and attended Laurel High School. He joined the U. S. Army in 1942.

He was assigned to the 77th Division of the 307 Infantry Regiment as a medic. During his tour in the Pacific Theater, he participated in five battles, including the Battle of Barrigada to liberate Guam from the Japanese. At the request of then Gov. Tom Carper, he returned to Guam in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that liberation.

In addition to Guam, Baker earned battle stars in le Shima, Okinawa, Kerama Retta and the Leyte Gulf. He also received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after being wounded on Okinawa.

His Silver Star came after the Battle of Barrigada, where he helped to rescue wounded men while coming under enemy fire.

Baker was discharged from the Army as a sergeant and returned to the United States at the end of the war. He went to work for the DuPont Co. nylon plant in Seaford and is retired from Phillipís Men Shop, Laurel.

He joined the Delaware Army National Guard in October 1948 and served in a variety of noncommissioned officer positions until December 1958, when he was made chief warrant officer II and started service in food services.

In June 1964, he was discharged from the Guard. But he soon reenlisted and served, still in food services, until his retirement in October 1973.

He is still a member of the Delaware National Guard Retired Officer Association.

On Sunday, a ceremony honoring Baker was held at Fort Miles. According to a statement released by the Delaware Army National Guard, "Honesty, integrity and complete devotion to duty have enabled Chief Baker to achieve the highest of military standards, and his actions should be emulated by all soldiers."

"I am very surprised, and very pleased," Baker said.

 

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