On Saturday 25 July 2015, Purple Hearts Reunited (PHR) will partner with the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA) to honor a Vietnam War veteran and former Vermont resident PFC Bruce Allan Baker. After a memorial ride beginning at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Sharon, VT and continuing along the National Purple Heart Trail, the CVMA chapters will join state officials, PHR representatives, and the general public to commemorate PFC Baker’s service with the public presentation of his lost Purple Heart to the Essex Community Historical Society at 11 Maple Street in Essex Junction, VT 05452.
The lost Purple Heart medal was given to MSG Dan Landry of the Vermont Army National Guard, who reached out to Purple Hearts Reunited for help finding its rightful owner. The nonprofit organization Purple Hearts Reunited, along with partnering veterans service organizations, will be presenting the medal in a public ceremony beginning after the riders arrive, at approximately 1:00pm.
Bruce Allan Baker was born 21 May 1947 in Concord, NH. He lived in Burlington, VT as an adult and served with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, USMC. PFC Baker was KIA on 24 July 1966 in Quand Tri Province, Vietnam, after sustaining wounds to the abdomen and chest. According to descriptions of the event, the Battalion Landing Team departed US Naval Base Subic Bay, Philippines on 13 July, began on the 16 landed in northern Quang Tri Province to participate in Operations Deckhouse II in the Gio Linh District and Hastings in Cam Lo District. On July 24, approximately two kilometers east of Thon Khe (The Rockpile), a patrol Baker’s Company engaged the enemy, and in the firefight, PFC Baker lost his life. His service and sacrifice are memorialized on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC in Panel 9E, Row 65.
PFC Baker is buried at Fairview Cemetery in Essex Junction, VT, and his Purple Heart will be presented to the Essex Community Historical Society at 1:00pm, following the CVMA ride up Interstate 89 and VT Route 2. PFC Baker’s father, Donald S. Baker, lived in Burlington, VT at the time of his son’s death but is no longer living. No immediate family members of PFC Baker were identified by PHR’s research, so the Purple Heart, found in an antique shop in VT, will be displayed to the public at the Harriet Farnsworth Powell Museum, maintained by the Essex Historical Society, 49 years after the Marine was killed in action.
We hope you can join us! Check out the facebook event to let us know you’re coming or share the information with your friends!