Baker, Douglas, LTJG

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1943-1944, 131X, VF-20 Fighting 20
Service Years
1942 - 1944
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Lieutenant Junior Grade

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Year of Birth
1921
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Nicole Summers, MMFN to remember Baker, Douglas, LTJG.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Lindley
Last Address
McClain County

Casualty Date
Dec 14, 1944
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Philippines
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Greenhill Cemetery - Muskogee, Oklahoma
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Lt jg Douglas Baker F6F Hellcat fighter pilot {ACE} VF-20, USS Enterprise, USS Lexington
Shot down 16.3 Japanese aircraft

Born in McClain County, Oklahoma in 1921 and son of John E. and Georgia Baker, Doug Baker enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June, 1942 after one year at Oklahoma University and completed flight training a year later. With his squadron VF-20, he sailed on USS Enterprise and USS Lexington from 31 August 1944 until his death on 14 December.

His first combat came during a fighter sweep over Formosa on 12 October, 1944. There were 350 Japanese planes on the island, nearly half of them fighters. The American Fast Carrier Task Force launched its dawn attack at 0600, and 230 enemy airplanes rose to intercept. It was one of the biggest aerial battles of the Pacific War. VF-20, under LTCDR Fred Bakutis, led three divisions of Hellcats over Einansho airfield and met about 30 bandits. Ensign Douglas Baker, on his first combat mission, downed four: 3 Tjos and a Zero. Altogether, VF-20 accounted for 20 Japanese planes that day.

Three days later, over the Philippines, Baker knocked down two more, IJA Oscars this time. He was an ace!

On 18 October, the Enterprise pilots of VF-20 ran a sweep over the Manila area, and engaged some Tojos and other fighters. Baker and Ensign Chuck Haviland both scored triples. In all, VF-20 counted 18 this day.

Ensign Baker ran his score to a dozen by November 14, the highest ever for an Ensign.

He was promoted to Lieutenant(jg) on 14 December and flew another mission over Clark Field that afternoon. Facing plenty of opposition, he downed three Zeros and was last seen destroying an Oscar. With twelve kills in five combat missions, 23 year-old Baker was one of the most successful fighter pilots in the task force. But that evening, when everyone else had landed back on board Lexington, the young Oklahoman did not turn up. He was noted as "missing in action." Later Filipino guerillas found his F6F and took his dog tags. With 16 kills to his credit, he was the highest scoring Navy ace to be shot down.

Strikes On Clark Field Area: 14-16 December 1944

The three days of strikes on the Clark Field area in December were perhaps the most trying experienced by our pilots up to that time. Anti-aircraft batteries of all sizes had been greatly strengthened since the previous strikes and were finding their marks with far greater accuracy. Six fighters were shot down by AA fire on the 14th although two of the pilots parachuted safely and were rescued by guerrilla forces. Several other planes were hit but managed to land aboard safely.

Fighter opposition was weak, only seven planes rising to intercept the first sweep on the 14th, all seven of which were destroyed. Lt. (jg) Douglas Baker accounted for four of the Jap planes making a total of 16 for him before he in turn was shot down by AA fire and killed

Tally Record: 16 1/3 confirmed
In just Two months of combat Ltjg Baker downed over 16 aircraft which Ranked him 7th highest ever in the US Navy

Decorations:
Navy Cross
Two Silver Stars
Three Distinguished Flying Crosses
Purple Heart


Source: www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi
   
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 Duty Stations
USS Lexington (CV-16)VF-20 Fighting 20USS Enterprise (CV-6)
  1943-1944, 131X, USS Lexington (CV-16)
  1943-1944, 131X, VF-20 Fighting 20
  1944-1944, 131X, USS Enterprise (CV-6)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1944 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 Asiatic-Pacific Specified Raids (1944)/Formosa Air Battle
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Philippine Sea
  1944-1944 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Leyte Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Luzon Campaign (1944-45)
 Colleges Attended 
University of Oklahoma
  1941-1942, University of Oklahoma
 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenWW II Memorial National RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2013, World War II Fallen [Verified]
  2018, WW II Memorial National Registry
  2018, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2018, The National Gold Star Family Registry
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