ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Rock Island, Illinois -- (Aug. 21, 2018) Master Sgt. John F. Baker Jr., Medal of Honor recipient, received additional honors Aug. 22 as U.S. Army Garrison Rock Island Arsenal put his name on a street in its new Eagle Point Housing Area.

The Arsenal named another street after Milton Howard, a Civil War veteran who was the Arsenal's first African-American employee. Howard served the installation for 56 years.

Baker received the Medal of Honor for action while serving with the 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division, in September of 1966. His unit came under fire while maneuvering to relieve another unit which was also under fire. When his leader fell, Baker assumed point. He was wounded by a grenade, but recovered, making repeated trips while under fire to evacuate wounded American Soldiers. With the help of another soldier, Baker destroyed two enemy bunkers. He killed four enemy snipers and evacuated a total of eight American Soldiers during the course of the two-hour combat. He was credited with killing 10 enemy soldiers. Baker, who had been a gymnast before entering the military and who was 5-feet-1-inch tall, went on to serve as a "tunnel rat" destroying enemy underground bunkers and materiel.

Rock Island Arsenal historian George Eaton quoted President Lyndon Johnson, who said at Baker's MOH presentation, "The battlefield is the scarred and the lonely landscape of man's greatest failure. But is a place where heroes walk." Baker served in the Army until his retirement in 1989, and went on to have a career helping Soldiers in the Veteran's Administration, until his death in 2012.

Donnell Baker, Baker's widow, spoke surrounded by members of the 27th Infantry Regiment Historical Society who served alongside her husband in Vietnam. The historical society who attended the street-naming ceremony event during the organization's reunion.

Choking back tears, Donnell Baker said, "These guys are my family. John not here and they take care of me -- and they took care of each other in Vietnam."

She said her husband entered combat with a purpose. "I know his only hope is that people who live here have a warm and happy home to live in. He always said he would come back as an eagle -- and I know you have a lot of eagles here -- so when you look up and see one flying, know that John is flying with you."

Baker received the Medal of Honor for action while serving with the 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division, in September of 1966. His unit came under fire while maneuvering to relieve another unit which was also under fire. When his leader fell, Baker assumed point. He was wounded by a grenade, but recovered, making repeated trips while under fire to evacuate wounded American Soldiers. With the help of another soldier, Baker destroyed two enemy bunkers. He killed four enemy snipers and evacuated a total of eight American Soldiers during the course of the two-hour combat. He was credited with killing 10 enemy soldiers. Baker, who had been a gymnast before entering the military and who was 5-feet-1-inch tall, went on to serve as a "tunnel rat" destroying enemy underground bunkers and materiel.

Rock Island Arsenal historian George Eaton quoted President Lyndon Johnson, who said at Baker's MOH presentation, "The battlefield is the scarred and the lonely landscape of man's greatest failure. But is a place where heroes walk." Baker served in the Army until his retirement in 1989, and went on to have a career helping Soldiers in the Veteran's Administration, until his death in 2012.

Also honored was Milton Howard. Howard was born free in Muscatine, but kidnapped and sold into slavery at age 5. He escaped with the help of the Underground Railroad, and enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War, serving as an infantry private with Co. 5, 60th U.S. Colored Troops. He received several injuries while defending an artillery piece, and carried a bullet in his knee the rest of his life.

After the war he applied for work as a laborer at Rock Island Arsenal, where he worked for most of the rest of his life. He was among four employees who received golden "faithful service" awards in Jun of 1920. He died at the Faith Apostolic Church, where he served as a Deacon, in 1928.

Karen Orozco Gutierrez, said her family had many stories about her great-great grandfather, including that he sometimes used his cane to drag one of his sons from beneath a bed he hid beneath. She said Howard was active in many civic organizations and served as a councilman on the Davenport City Council, even though he was not formally educated and couldn't read.

She said several of his descendants followed in his footsteps. His son, Sgt. Leroy Smith, served in France during the First World War and was a training officer at Camp Dodge, Iowa, his grandson, Howard Perkins, was the first Equal Employment Opportunity Officer at Rock Island Arsenal. Another grandson, Glenn Perkins, worked as a plating foreman and was the Arsenal's first African-American supervisor.

"I think what he left behind to young people, is he never gave up. He had a very positive attitude" Orozco Gutierrez said. "He just kept trying and built a life here."