By Ralph Echtinaw
Better late than never.
Congressman John Moolenaar presented five World War II medals earned by the late Frank A. Baert to daughter Margaret Hoyt Wednesday at the St. Louis VFW Post.
Born in 1918 to Ben and Mary Baert, Frank enlisted in the Army in March 1941, seven months before the Japanese brought the USA into World War II with an attack on Pearl Harbor.
Baert served with the 177th Field Artillery Battalion that fought in the European Theater of Operations; specifically Normandy, the Ardennes and the Rhineland.
Discharged in October 1945, Baert never received the medals that he earned and returned to Michigan where he farmed and did carpentry.
“He left behind a legacy as a loyal family man who will be remembered for his faith in God and his love of his country,” Moolenaar told Hoyt. “Our nation is grateful for your father’s distinguished service and for the sacrifices he made for our country. He enlisted at a time of great peril for our nation and the world, and his actions helped save millions from evil and tyranny. Your father was a patriot who answered the call of service and put the greater good ahead of himself. I hope your family will cherish these honors as you remember the life of your father. May God bless you and your family and continue to bless the United States of America.”
The hardware that Hoyt received are the Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation with Germany clasp and Honorable Service Lapel Pin.
Hoyt said she will decorate her father’s uniform jacket with the medals and display it all in a shadow box.