Leroy H. Baker, Jr., Interview by Larry A. Grant, 15 September 2010
Baker was born November 2, 1924, in Tuckahannock Township, Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Citadel class of 1948. He served in WWII in the European Theater and remained in Europe after the surrender to serve on the US Strategic Bombing Survey team. When that duty concluded, he was sent to Charleston for release from active duty. There he decided to attend The Citadel as a veteran student. While at school, he remained in the Navy Reserve, and when the Korean War began, he was recalled to active duty. He was assigned to the destroyer, USS Porter (DD-800), where he served as gunnery officer. After Korea, he continued in the Navy Reserve and completed twenty years of service.
Baker discusses his naval service in Europe, in destroyers, in Korea and his civilian career. After his release from active duty after Korea, Baker settled in Charleston, where he worked for the Westvaco Company until retirement in 1987. He lives in Charleston, SC, West of the Ashley.
Amidst rising border tensions, troops from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea crossed the 38th parallel on June 25, 1950, and nearly drove US and Republic of Korean forces into the sea. Aided by United Nations soldiers, American troops led an amphibious counterattack at the port of Inchon on September 15, 1950, and a breakout from Pusan that swept north over the length of the Korean peninsula and reached the border of the People's Republic of China along the Yalu River in November 1950. Fearing invasion, Chinese forces crossed into North Korea and drove the UN forces south. After hard fighting by both sides, a stalemate developed in late 1951 around the 38th parallel. With military and material support from the US and the USSR, the war continued until July 27, 1953, when the warring parties agreed to an armistice. No permanent peace has ever been negotiated. Following up on its efforts to record the memories of World War II-era alumni, The Citadel Oral History Program began interviewing Korean War veterans in the spring of 2010. Several thousand Citadel alumni were on active duty during the Korean War, and at least 25 lost their lives in combat. These interviews cover a wide range of Korean-era experiences, including the Inchon landing, naval forces, Chinese intervention, and the eventual stalemate. They are a testament to the sacrifices made by the veterans whose lives and service have often been overshadowed by World War II. The digital recordings and transcripts are part of The Citadel Oral History Program Collection at The Citadel Archives & Museum.
Interview transcriptions are intended to reflect the words and sounds of the audio recordings as closely as possible. Even the best transcriptions, however, are imperfect representations of the recordings. For a full discussion of The Citadel Oral History Program's transcription guidelines, consult the program's website.