Pvt George V. Baker
Award: Veterans' Hall of Fame
361st Infantry Regiment, 91st Infantry Division, Fifth Army
Pvt. George V. Baker is a highly decorated U.S. Army World War II veteran and former prisoner of war. While serving with the 361st Infantry Regiment, 91st Infantry Division, Fifth Army, the Franklinville, New York native was part of a combat force that pushed the enemy back 150 miles during intensive fighting to Leghorn, Italy. There, the enemy was entrenched in an attempt to defend the approaches of what was then the third largest seaport in Italy.
As part of Task Force Williamson, Mr. Baker and his unit clawed their way through mountainous terrain to liberate Leghorn and then pushed north to take the Arno River, all the while fighting off several days of stiff enemy artillery, mortar and machine gun fire. Although the operation was ultimately successful, Mr. Baker was captured July 28, 1944 at Pisa, Italy during an enemy counter attack. He endured nine months of extreme hardship as a prisoner of war. The brave soldier was one of 2,000 prisoners force-marched north into Germany by the enemy as they fled ahead of the Fifth Army. He was freed April 14, 1945 by advance elements of General George Patton’s Third Army.
Pvt. Baker’s unit earned the Distinguished Unit Citation (the Presidential Unit Citation) for its World War II operations. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Prisoner of War Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Rome-Arno campaign stars, and the World War II Victory Medal.