Flags lowered to honor Medal of Honor recipient

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Local flags are at half-staff today. (Friday)

Pursuant to Section 10-1-161 (F) of the South Carolina Code of Laws, the Governor has ordered flags atop the State House be at half-staff from sunup to sundown, Friday, January 27, 2012 in honor of Medal of Honor recipient MSG John Franklin Baker, Jr.

U.S. Army Retired Master Sergeant John F. Baker Jr., 66, who received the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of eight of his fellow soldiers died January 20,2012 in his Richland, South Carolina home.

The Sergeant served with Company A, 2nd. Battalion 27th Infantry and 25th Infantry Division in the Republic of Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, Baker a “tunnel rat” – a soldier who, armed with only a pistol and a flashlight, would crawl into enemy tunnels to clear them.

He was one of only 239 service members to receive the Medal of Honor in Vietnam. To date there are only 84 living recipients of the medal from all branches of military service.

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.