A veteran who lived in Warrior will be honored this week by his family and friends.
Brooks H. Baker II, a World War II veteran, lived in Warrior from 1946 until he died in 1993.
A flagpole is being dedicated to him in Homewood, and the tattered World War II flag that flew over his ship will be flown once again at the dedication.
The following was written by Baker’s son, Brooks H. Baker III.
As the War was being directed toward the Japanese mainland, Daddy was reassigned from his three years of duty as a SeaBee on the Solomon Islands to an LSM (Landing Ship Medium) with a promotion from Chief Petty Officer to Ensign, a title he never liked. The CPO was his favorite rank since it was more hands on.
In early September of 1945, his ship, LSM309, was somewhere off the coast of Japan with hundreds of other vessels preparing for the imminent invasion of Japan. According to declassified documents, the '309 would have been among the vessels in the forefront of the invasion of Japan since it had the "X" in the ship's number indicating it as "expendable."
As we all know, landing troops on the mainland of Japan would have resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of American lives, not to mention other Allied troop lives. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki probably saved his life (making mine possible) and the other tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of American lives.
Dad was Officer of the Deck on the LSM on September 2, 1945, the day Japan surrendered. Dad lowered the tattered flag which was flying over the ship and raised a new flag. Although I never heard this directly, this was likely his way of celebrating the new day for the U.S.A. and the world. He kept the old flag as a reminder of the four years of his life invested in the freedom of our Country and in memory of those not returning.
The flag has only flown on two occasions since the surrender of Japan: Once at the dedication of the flagpole flying the American flag over the campus green at UAB, which was given in memory of his daughter-in-law, Virginia LeCroy Baker; and then at the dedication of the flagpole at Patriots Park in Homewood.
The ceremony will be Thursday at Patriot Park Veterans’ Monument, 816 in Homewood, at 3 p.m. on Thursday.
This is an Eagle Scout project dedication by Nels Coker. The flag flying on the flagpole will be replaced for the ceremony by the WWII flag from the LSM309.