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07/14/2010

Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker dies at 90

July 14, 2010 | 11:51 am

Baker

Vernon Baker, a black soldier who belatedly received the Medal of Honor for his role in World War II, has died at his home in St. Maries, Idaho. He was 90.

Baker2 The Benewah County coroner says Baker died Tuesday of complications of brain cancer.

Then-President Bill Clinton presented the nation's highest award for battlefield valor to Baker in 1997. He was one of only seven black soldiers to receive it in World War II and the only living recipient.

In 1944, 2nd Lt. Baker was sent to Italy with a full platoon of 54 men. On April 5, he and his soldiers found themselves behind enemy lines near Viareggio, Italy. Under concentrated enemy fire Baker and his platoon crawled to several machine gun nests, destroying them and killing 26 Germans.

More later at www.latimes.com/obits.

-- Associated Press

Top photo: Vernon Baker in 2005. Credit: Associated Press; Jesse Tinsley / Spokesman-Review

Bottom photo: Baker during his Army career. Credit: Associated Press

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