b. 28/12/1865 Laramie County, Wyoming. d. 26/08/1913 Los Angeles, California.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 01/07/1898 Santiago, Cuba.
A notable African-American Medal of Honor recipient, Baker is also known for being the maternal grandfather of jazz saxophonist and Oscar nominee Dexter Gordon. He was the father of Gordon’s mother, Gwendolyn Baker.
Baker enlisted as a private in the 9th Cavalry Regiment on 27 July 1882 and was promoted to trumpeter prior to the expiration of his enlistment on 26 July 1887. On 25 August 1887 he re-enlisted in the 10th Cavalry Regiment where he held the positions of chief trumpeter and quartermaster sergeant prior to being promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major which made him the highest ranking enlisted man in the regiment. He fought with the 10th Cavalry at the Battle of San Juan Hill in July 1898. He distinguished himself in the battle and was awarded the Medal of Honor.
He was commissioned as a first lieutenant of the 10 US Volunteer Infantry on 2 August 1898 and was mustered out of service on 8 March 1899. On 9 September 1899 he was promoted to captain of the 49th US Volunteer Infantry, mustering out with the regiment on 30 June 1901. He was re-commissioned as a Second Lieutenant with the Philippine Scouts on 7 February 1902 and was promoted to 1st lieutenant on 10 September 1906. He was promoted to the rank of captain on 12 September 1908. He resigned from the Army after 27 years of service on 31 October 1909. At the time of his retirement he was one of the highest ranking African-American officers in the United States Army.
Left cover and, under fire, rescued a wounded comrade from drowning.
BURIAL LOCATION: ANGELUS-ROSEDALE CEMETERY, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.
SECTION 3, LOT 130, GRAVE 2 SE
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.