Ralph E. Baker
S Division
USS West Virginia

Ralph Edward Baker joined the crew of the USS West Virginia in 1944 out of Bremerton, WA.  He worked in the laundry and also had the job of converting sea water to drinking water from 1944 until end of war.  His battle station was below water line feeding the 16" guns with their shells.   He was on the ship from time it went back in service until end of the war.  He was present in Tokyo Bay when Japan signed the surrender.  He witnessed the burial at sea for four shipmates killed when a suicide plane hit the ship on April 1, 1945.  Crossing the equator in October 1944 and no longer being a polywog was a fond memory of his.  Riding out a bad storm at sea was another memory.  Ralph had a chance to go to 1946 Rose Bowl in Pasadena but opted to go home to his wife and daughter whom he hadn't seen in 2 years.

After leaving the navy, Ralph farmed 188 acres in Bloomfield Ohio and in 1946 was hired by Armco Steel in Zanesville Ohio. In 1947 a bad accident at Armco left him with 1 leg.  In 1949 he sold the farm and moved to Zanesville Ohio with wife and 3 children. 

Ralph was born July 11, 1920 and died February 28, 2007.   Two names he talked about were Red Emmert and a ship mate named Blackie.  Blackie lived in Pennsylvania in late 40s or early 50s.  Anyone who knew of Ralph or Ed as he liked to be called please contact his son Tom at bigtom66@verizon.net.

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