WWII Marine returns, shares his story

Fourth Marine Division Association President Norman Baker of Delaplane, Va., describes his role in the battle of Iwo Jima during World War II on Wednesday morning during a visit to the Haiku park named in the 4th Division’s honor. Baker posed for photos taken by wife, Suzanne, and toured the grounds while gathering material for the association’s newsletter and for a report he will deliver during the division’s reunion in August in Savannah, Ga. Baker said he was a Marine private attached as security to a Seabee unit beaching on Iwo Jima during a night assault. The battle was supposed to take only a few days, but he ended up fighting for his life for 36 days without relief. “My memories are pretty cruel,” Baker said. “I was 18. I was cocky, but my buddies were getting killed, and I didn’t think I would live either.” He said his recollections of Maui are happier, though it surprises him how much the island has changed in the past 68 years. “It (Maui) was wonderful, but I was so young,” he said. “I didn’t get the opportunity to go into town and get into trouble.”