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Nick Baron
Young American Patriots

West Virginia Veterans Memorial

Remember...

Nick Baron
1917-1944

"It was unknowable then, but so much of the progress that would define the 20th century, on both sides of the Atlantic, came down to the battle for a slice of beach only 6 miles long and 2 miles wide."

Barack Obama

Nick Baron was born on November 25, 1917, in Curtisville, Pennsylvania, to Mike and Anna Baron. By 1940, according to the Federal Census, the Barons were joined by Nick’s siblings, Mary and Charles. A brother, Mike Baron III, had died in 1936. In 1940, Mike and Nick Baron were working in the mines and living in Osage, Monongalia County, West Virginia. Nick had completed grammar school in Osage, without advancing further.

On July 10, 1941, Nick Baron enlisted in the U.S. Army in Huntington. He served with the 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, Company C. According to the entry in Young American Patriots for Nick Baron, he served at Fort Benning; Camp Gordon, Georgia; in Tallahassee, Florida; and in England before going to France. The reference’s account of Nick Baron’s service matches the movements of the 4th Infantry Division, according to the 4th Infantry Division (United States) Wikipedia page. (Accessed 9 June 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4th_Infantry_Division_(United_States)#France.) The unit was at Camp Gordon in December of 1941, at Fort Dix in 1943, and in Florida for battlefield maneuvers in September 1943. The unit embarked from New York in January 1944.

Next to Nick’s entry in Young American Patriots is an entry for his brother Charles. Charles Baron was a sergeant in the Army and served in Saipan and Guam. According to her military marker, Mary Baron served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps during World War II. Thus, all three of the Barons’ children who lived to adulthood were in service to their country during the war.

The 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, with whom Nick Baron served, was among those units that landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. D-Day refers to the day that Allied forces began an assault on German forces in Normandy, France. The landing on the beaches of Normandy, code-named Operation Overlord, began when “156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50 mile stretch of heavily fortified coast….” (“D-Day,” History.com, 2000, accessed 9 June 2018, https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/d-day.) Research did not provide definitive proof of the role that Pvt. Baron served during the week of June 6, 1944, but the 4th Infantry Division did land on Utah Beach. The 4th Infantry Division continued to Beuzeville-au-Plain, which was liberated June 7, 1944. According to the D-Day Overlord website,

Shortly after noon, four vehicles were detected between Beuzeville-au-Plain and Foucarville: they were stopped and destroyed by the action of Lieutenant Swanson. Lieutenant-Colonel Cassidy ordered Captain Fred A. Hancock’s company C to seize Beuzeville-au-Plain, finding that the Germans were increasingly seeking to infiltrate the allied bridgehead. These elements begin their progression at nightfall and are taken to part at the height of the hamlet Fournel that the leading elements have confused with Beuzeville-au-Plain. The paratroopers retire to the south, facing the Fournel. They were reinforced at the same time by infantrymen of the 12th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division who settled during the night in prohibition facing the north. The next day, June 7, 1944, the 1st Battalion of the 12th Infantry Regiment launched its offensive towards the north and seized Beuzeville-au-Plain before continuing its progression for nearly two kilometers. (Accessed 9 June 2018, https://www.dday-overlord.com/en/battle-of-normandy/cities/beuzeville-au-plain.)

According to the 4th Infantry Division’s history site,

After their successful D-day landing, the men of the Ivy division fought through the hedgerows of the Cotentin Peninsula en route to taking the critically important port of Cherbourg on June 25, 1944. The division was in continuous action during the period of June 6 to June 28 when the last resistance around Cherbourg was eliminated. During this period, the 4th Infantry Division sustained over 5,450 casualties and had over 800 men killed. (National 4th Infantry Division Association, “Division History,” accessed 9 June 2018, http://www.4thinfantry.org/content/division-history.)

Among those 800 men killed was Private Nick Baron, on June 8, 1944. His obituary appeared in the Morgantown Dominion News on July 13, 1944, where it was noted that Nick Baron was a member of Local 4043 of the United Mine Workers of America and worked as member of the mine machine crew at the Osage mine.

Nick Baron was awarded a Purple Heart, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and the American Defense Medal. He was buried in the Beverly Hills Memorial Gardens and Cemetery in Monongalia County. The headstone application indicates the family asked for the religious designation on the headstone to carry a double bar on the cross to indicate the Greek Catholic faith, but the headstone does not carry the insignia.
headstone

Headstone for Nick Baron in Beverly Hills Memorial Gardens and Cemetery. Courtesy Cynthia Mullens

Article prepared by Cynthia Mullens
June 2018

Honor...

Nick Baron

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