Thomas Baker was born on June 25, 1916, in Troy, New York and later joined the Army from that city. By June 19, 1944, was serving as a private in Company A of the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. On that day, on Saipan in the Marianas Islands, he advanced ahead of his unit with a bazooka and destroyed a Japanese emplacement which was firing on his company. Several days later, he single-handedly attacked and killed two groups of Japanese soldiers. On July 7, Baker’s position came under attack by a large Japanese force. Although seriously wounded early in the attack, he refused to be evacuated and continued to fight in the close-range battle until running out of ammunition. When a comrade was wounded while trying to carry him to safety, Baker insisted that he be left behind. At his request, his comrades left him propped against a tree and gave him a pistol, which had eight bullets remaining. When American forces retook the position, they found the pistol, now empty, and eight dead Japanese soldiers around Baker’s body.
Baker was posthumously promoted to sergeant and, on May 9, 1945, awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions throughout the battle for Saipan. He was buried at Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville, New York.