Remembering Three Wyoming Heroes Who Died At Pearl Harbor
Today marks the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which claimed the lives of 2,403 Americans. On this dark day, we are reminded of their service and sacrifice.
Among the fallen were three United States Navy officers from here in Wyoming. Machinist Mate Second Class Elmer Emil Christensen, Seaman First Class Delbert Ray Fisher and Fireman Second Class James Orries Morgareidge were on the USS Arizona when it was attacked by Japanese bombers.
According to WyoFile, over ten percent of Wyoming's population, nearly 30,000 men, served in World War II. 1,095 of them didn't make it back home.
All of those men demonstrated courage and valor, including two Wyoming natives who were later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action, at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty".
Cheyenne's Vernon J. Baker, United States Army First Lieutenant, was among the first African-American soldiers to receive the honor. Baker was given the citation for his extraordinary heroism on April 5 - 6, 1945, when he took out a German machine gun emplacement near Viareggio, Italy, and led his battalion's advance through enemy minefields under heavy fire.
Another Cheyenne native, United States Army Technical Sergeant Charles F. Carey, Jr. was honored for his courage on January 8-9, 1945, when he entered a house in Rimling, France, shot two snipers and took 16 prisoners. The next day, Carey was killed after successfully rescuing four of his fellow soldiers from another house that had been surrounded by German infantry.