William Leroy Baker
|HOME OF RECORD:
|NEXT OF KIN:
Father, Mr. Leroy Baker
|DATE OF BIRTH:
1/3/1943 – 11/30/1945
|DATE OF DEATH:
|Saipan||1/24||Corpsman||PhM2c||WIA / SICK|
|LAST KNOWN RANK:
Pharmacist’s Mate, Second Class
William Baker–no relation to battalion surgeon William J. Baker–was born in Temple, Texas, and raised by Leroy and Maggie (Hinders) Baker. He enlisted in the Navy in early 1943, and chose (or was selected for) training as a hospital corpsman. After completing the training course at the Medical Field Service School in San Diego, Baker was assigned to Company B of the 4th Medical Battalion, and then to First Battalion, 24th Marines. He showed a natural aptitude for his work, and was promoted to Pharmacist’s Mate, Second Class on July 1, 1943.
Exactly seven months later, Corpsman Baker was making his first combat landing on the island of Namur, and was soon treating the first of the scores of wounded men he would see over the course of four campaigns. He was himself slightly wounded on June 17, 1944 while fighting on Saipan, and was evacuated for illness three separate times over the Marianas campaign, but returned to duty after every incident.(1) Baker’s luck held out through 1945; he survived Iwo Jima without being wounded, and can be seen holding a captured Japanese flag in a photograph taken at battle’s end.
Baker was discharged in November, 1945, and went right back home to Texas. He eventually married and settled in Houston, where he worked as an insurance salesman until his death in 1978.
Today, William Baker is buried in Houston National Cemetery.
(1). Baker was evacuated from Saipan on June 28, 1944, returning to duty July 5. He was again evacuated, from Tinian, on July 28, returning on August 3. Battalion muster rolls list him as “sick” on both occasions.