Retired March 31, 1972.
Brig. Gen. John W. Baer is Deputy Director for Strike Forces, Directorate of Operations, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Baer was born in Lewiston, Idaho, in 1919. He graduated from Cottonwood High School, Cottonwood, Idaho, in 1937 and attended the University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, from 1937 until 1939 when he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He received his bachelor of science degree in military science and commission as second lieutenant from the Academy in 1943. He took his flying training in the Southeast Training Command, Spence Field, Ga.
During World War II, General Baer served as a pilot, squadron operations officer, squadron commander, and deputy group commander in the 368th Fighter Group in the European Theater of Operations. He flew 101 combat missions, accumulating 260 combat hours in P-47 aircraft.
From September 1946 to June 1955 General Baer served in Washington, D.C., as project officer, Guided Missiles Division, and then planning officer, War Plans Division, Headquarters U.S. Air Force; and War Plans Officer, NATO Standing Group, Office of the Secretary of Defense. In June 1955 he was transferred to Japan where he was Commander of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group and later Deputy Commander of the 35th Fighter Wing. From July 1957 to June 1958 he was Director of War Plans, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
Upon his return to the United States, General Baer served as Assistant Executive Officer to the Chief of Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and in July 1959 became Executive to the Under Secretary of the Air Force. From December 1959 until August 1961 he was assigned as Executive Officer to the Secretary of the Air Force.
General Baer was a student at the National War College, Washington, D.C., in 1961-1962; Vice Commander, 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath, England, from July 1962 to June 1963; and Commander, 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, RAF Wethersfield, England, from June 1963 until his assignment to Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va., in August 1965 as Assistant Deputy for Plans. He remained with TAC until June 1967 when he assumed duties as Deputy Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Thailand. General Baer returned to the Washington, D.C., area in January 1969 as Director, Near East and South Asia Region, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs).
In September 1970 General Baer assumed duties as Deputy Director for Strike Forces, Directorate of Operations, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
He received his master of arts degree in political science from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., in 1951.
General Baer is a command pilot and has more than 4,000 flying hours. His military decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 19 oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, French Croix de Guerre (Etoile D'Argent), and the Belgian Croix de Guerre.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of brigadier general effective May 29, 1965, with date of rank May 29, 1965.