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Old 11-12-2017, 11:05 AM
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Boats Boats is offline
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Arrow Missing Korean War veteran finally laid to rest in Racine County

Missing Korean War veteran finally laid to rest in Racine County
By: Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Published 6:24 p.m. CT Nov. 11, 2017 | Updated 6:31 p.m. CT 11-11-17

MOUNT PLEASANT - A U.S. Army soldier missing in action for 67 years after an intense battle in the Korean War was laid to rest Saturday with full military honors on Veterans Day at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant.

At a small chapel at West Lawn Memorial Park packed with members of Cpl. Donald L. Baer’s family and veterans, some of the story was told about the 20-year-old Baer, who died in battle as the 24th Infantry Division defended an airport in the South Korean city of Taejon.

“Donald was lost. But now he’s found,” said the Rev. Mark Doidge from Holy Communion Lutheran Church in Racine.

His family has been through an amazing journey; long, arduous, confusing and frustrating, Doidge said.

Yet Baer was remembered as a hero, the son of a World War I veteran and the brother of three World War II veterans who joined the Army when he was only 18.

“He sacrificed. He paved the way,” Doidge said.

“Behind his name is a whole list of awards: the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Prisoner of War Medal (he was originally reported as a prisoner), the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal.”

RELATED: Korean War soldier's remains return home to Racine

Baer was also remembered as an easygoing young man, much loved, who wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father and brothers in serving his country.

He had six older brothers and sisters to help take care of him, said his sister, Eleanor (Baer) Ball of Overland Park, Kan.

His mother, Elizabeth Baer, became ill and died shortly after his sister Barbara was born in 1932.

The family moved from Michigan to Brainerd, Minn., where Donald’s grandparents helped raise the children.

“I remember being at the farm in the late afternoon and going with Donald and Barbara down to the pasture to open the gates so the cows could come up to the barn. Then Donald would help with the milking, and in those days it was done by hand,” Ball recalled.

“He knew the work that had to be done and was trained in doing it by his Grandpa Fred and Uncle George, who also lived on the farm.”

The family’s time was divided between Brainerd and Racine when Donald’s father, Vernon, moved to Racine for a job. Still, they were close.

“When Donald was 18, he felt the need to leave the farm (in Brainerd) and venture out. He chose to do this by joining the Army June 28, 1948,” Ball said.


Welcome Home Cpl. may you now rest in peace on US soil. My respects to your family and friends.


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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