Medal of Honor recipient and WWII Army pilot | Article

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The Medal of Honor recipient and World War II Army pilot represented

WASHINGTON — The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced April 13 that Lt. Col. Addison E. Baker, 36, killed in World War II and posthumously decorated with the Army Medal of Honor American Air Force, was found on April 8, 2022. .

Baker’s remains are currently located at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, and will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be determined later.

Currently, more than 400 Medal of Honor recipients from the Civil War to current conflicts are represented in Arlington National Cemetery, our nation’s holiest shrine to military service.




Lt. Col. Addison E. Baker, prepares a flight log circa 1944
(Photo credit: family courtesy photo)

SEE THE ORIGINAL


Baker, a native of Chicago, Illinois, served as a pilot of a B-24D Liberator nicknamed “Hell’s Wench” and as commander of the 328th Bombardment Squadron, 93rd Heavy Bombardment Group (Heavy), 9th Air Force. On August 1, 1943, Baker dressed up and took to the air in support of Operation TIDAL WAVE, the largest bombing mission of World War II over the oil fields and refineries of Ploiesti, Romania. As he approached the target, his plane was hit by a large-caliber anti-aircraft shell.

When his plane was badly damaged and set on fire, Baker ignored the fact that he was flying over terrain suitable for a safe landing, refusing to withdraw his plane and jeopardize the mission. Instead, he directed the formation towards the target, on which he dropped his bombs with devastating effect.

Subsequently, the Hell’s Wench eventually broke out of formation, but Baker’s attempts to gain sufficient altitude to allow his crew to escape were thwarted by damage to the aircraft. While managing to avoid crashing into other aircraft in the formation, the Hell’s Wench crashed into the town of Ploesti, killing Baker.

Lt. Col. Baker risked his own life to save the lives of the squadron. Through extraordinary flying skills, gallant leadership and fearlessness, he rendered outstanding, distinguished and valiant service to our nation.

“We all strive every day to live up to the legacy of heroes like Lt. Col. Addison Baker,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville. “He embodies what it means to be a leader, paying the ultimate sacrifice to save others and accomplish the mission. We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us and will be eternally grateful to him and the other members. of our greatest generation.

In recognition of his valiant leadership and skill as a pilot, Baker was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Baker is also memorialized on the “Tablets of the Missing” at the Florence American Cemetery in Impruneta, Italy.

For more information about the Department of Defense’s mission to report on Americans who go missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil.

Lt. Col. Baker’s Medal of Honor citation can be found at https://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/citations20.html#B.

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