Service Number: 265672
Birth and Early Life:
Benjamin Baum was a native of Maryland. When he enlisted in the Marine Corps, he named Rison as his hometown.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Baum enlisted on June 9, 1938. He attended boot camp at Parris Island and, after completing training in August 16, was sent to the Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, New York.
Service Prior to 1941:
Private Baum served in Brooklyn until May 1939, when he was sent to the barracks at Quantico, Virginia. In addition to his regular duties, he acted as a messman at Quantico’s Sick Quarters; a facility dating to 1917 that served as the base hospital. (1) In September, he was awarded a brief furlough, and reported to Naval Operating Base, Norfolk on October 17. Two days later, Baum was aboard the USS Henderson, en route to “an Asiatic station.”
Baum’s station turned out the Philippines; he debarked in Cavite Navy Yard from the Henderson on January 3 and was transferred to the Marine barracks at Olongapo. Baum spent the remainder of 1940 at Olongapo, receiving a promotion to Private First Class in August.
PFC Baum remained at Olongapo until late 1941, when the Fourth Marine Regiment arrived to begin preparing defenses for the anticipated Japanese invasion. The Marine garrisons of Cavite and Olongapo were absorbed into the regiment; Baum was promoted to corporal and put in charge of a machine gun squad in in the regiment’s First Battalion, HQ Company. On January 7, he was reassigned to Company B.
Corporal Baum fought in the defense of the Philippines, and was decorated with a Silver Star by the United States Army for his actions at Fort Mills, Corregidor on March 25.
When the barracks of the 92nd Coast Artillery (Philippine Scouts) were set on fire by a hostile bombing attack, Corporal Baum without regard for personal danger and while hostile planes were overhead, on his own initiative, outstandingly assisted in getting the fire under control thus preventing complete destruction of buildings and defense installations in the area. The explosion of small arms and other ammunition stored in the area greatly increased the hazardous fire fighting operations.
Benjamin Baum was one of those captured by the Japanese at the fall of Corregidor on May 6, 1942. Like many of his comrades, he was sent to the prison camp at Cabanatuan, Luzon, Philippine Islands.
Date Of Loss:
Corporal Baum died at Cabanatuan Camp #1 on June 27, 1942. The cause and circumstances of his death were not recorded.
Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Lillian Sutherland
Status Of Remains:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
(1) United States Navy Dept. Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. Annual report of the Surgeon-General, U. S. Navy, 1918. pg 120.