The Clifton Forge Public Library is pleased to feature a display in honor of the late Francis Ray Baer, a Clifton Forge resident and a 1936 graduate of Clifton Forge High School, who survived the Pearl Harbor Attack.
On December 7, 1941, Japanese war planes attacked Pearl Harbor and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. naval vessels including eight battleships, and destroyed 188 planes. With over 2,000 American military personnel and 68 civilians killed, America entered World War II.
Among the survivors, F. Ray Baer was in the list of personnel attached to Patrol Squadron 22 between July 1, 1939, and January 10, 1942. In addition to his combat service, he was later stationed in Norfolk, VA. He served in the Navy for 20 years.
After Naval retirement, Baer worked in the Norfolk Post Office, then in the Supply Department at the Norfolk Naval Air Station. He also worked in A/C Mechanics, and as an A/C Metal Smith, Inventory Management Specialist GS-9, and was promoted to GS-11. His military and civilian service totaled 35 years.
Baer was a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. At its 60th year anniversary, Baer received a letter from President George W. Bush thanking him for his military service. The letter is on display along with a copy of a letter, dated May 1945, from General Dwight D. Eisenhower, addressed to the men and women of the Allied Expeditionary Force. An hour-by-hour timeline of the Pearl Harbor attack is also on display.
Other featured memorabilia includes Baer’s Pearl Harbor Survivors Association garrison cap and jacket, framed burial flag, and military badges. On top of the display cabinet is a binder of various military papers which the public may enjoy browsing through.
Rounding out the display are color photographs of Clifton Forge High School reunions and newspaper articles featuring the 50th, 52nd, and 54th reunions for the 1935 – 1936 classes.
The display honoring F. Ray Baer will be featured at the Clifton Forge Public Library between Veterans Day and National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The Library is located at 535 Church Street.
For information on any library programs or activities, phone 540-863-2519.