Local heroes recognized nationally

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Three local heroes have been commemorated in such a way that that their stories will be told nationwide.

Local Medal of Honor recipients Vernon Baker, Lloyd McCarter and Gregory Boyington are listed on a stamp booklet released by the U.S. Postal Service last week.

The Medal of Honor booklet is the first of a new format for the Postal Service, the Prestige Folio. This format includes a large sheet folded in half to form an 8 1/2- by 7 1/2-inch booklet. The first issuance honors Medal of Honor recipients of World War II and includes historic photographs of the last 12 living recipients, photographs of two Forever Stamps that feature the Army and Navy versions of the medal, a list of recipients, information on the award and 18 Forever Stamps.

Kari Turner and Carolyn Crowe of the St. Maries post office display the new World War II Medal of Honor recipients stamp booklet, now available at the office.

Vernon Joseph Baker was awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism in action April 5-6, 1945 near Viagreggio, Italy. He did not receive his medal for more than 50 years after the war because he was a black man and a victim of the policies of a segregated Army and country. Baker, who lived in the Benewah Valley with his wife Heidy, died from brain cancer in 2010 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Lloyd McCarter was born and raised in St. Maries and attended local schools. He was an athlete in high school and attended Gonzaga on a football scholarship. He enlisted in the Army in 1941. Mr. McCarter died in 1956 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, a Marine Corps aviator in WWII and the leader of the renowned Black Sheep Squadron, was born in Coeur d’Alene in 1912. He spent his childhood years in St. Maries, where he attended school and had his first flight. Toward the end of his second tour Mr. Boyington was shot down over the Pacific and captured by the Japanese. He spent 20 months as a prisoner of war. He died in 1988 at the age of 75.

The St. Maries post office has 200 booklets available for purchase for $9.20 each. For more information, call the local office at (208) 245-2031.

 

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