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Baum served with the 4th Armored Division during WWII. He was born in New York and grew up in the Bronx. His father was a Russian Jewish immigrant and his mother was an American of Romanian descent. He left school and became a pattern maker for women's apparel. When he enlisted in the Army, he was sent to Engineer basic training. He transferred to the 2nd Armored Division,17th Engineer Battalion. He recalls the physical training they went through, which included boxing. He knocked out a Sergeant. He was asked to represent the battalion in boxing and he refused. The sergeant refused to let him go to OCS [Annotator's Note: Officer Candidates School], but the Majors he met with sent him anyway. When Pearl Harbor occured, he immediately went to his father. He told his father he wanted to enlist and he gave him his blessing. He had an older brother who joined the Army after him. Baum wanted to join the Air Force, but he had low blood pressure and vision problems. He was not that disappointed. He just wanted to serve. He didn't follow the war before Pearl Harbor. Baum applied for OCS because he did not want to work with the men in the Battalion. He made it through OCS with the help of another student. When he went to OCS, they sent him to the 4th Armored Division. He had many problems with the Captain he shared a tent with because he treated the soldiers of Italian descent very poorly, the Captain's brother was killed in Italy. Baum said something to him about it. He challenged the Captain, but the man did nothing. Baum was transferred to another Company, which made him very happy.
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