The tall, red-headed, Bronx native led what was dubbed Task Force Baum with gusto. Accompanied by 296 men, Baum was wounded by enemy rocket fire but continued with the operation. Eventually the task force reached the camp and the prisoners were freed, but on their return back to the American lines they came up against heavy numbers of well-organized German troops who surrounded the men: "No less than an entire German Corps was diverted to the seeking out and destruction of the two company task force."
Eventually 32 of the task force were wounded, 9 killed and 16 were missing in action, presumed dead. Approximately 35 men made it back to safety, but Baum was shot in the leg while continuing to fight after he along with the rest of the survivors were captured by German troops.
Baum was liberated from a POW camp on April 5, 1945, 10 days after the mission. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on April 10, 1945.
Captain Baumâ€™s fearless determination and his inspiring leadership and loyal, courageous devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.