Retired Aug. 1, 1993.
Lieutenant General Thomas A. Baker is commander, 12th Air Force and U.S. Southern Air Forces, Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas.
General Baker was born in Golconda, Ill., in 1935. He earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Southern Illinois University in 1957 and a master's degree in business administration from Arizona State University in 1968. He completed Squadron Officer School in 1964, Royal Air Force Staff College in 1970 and National War College in 1975.
The general was commissioned in the Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. After completing pilot training at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, General Baker received transition training in the F-100 at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. He then was assigned to the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hahn Air Base, West Germany, in 1960. He returned to Luke as an F-104G instructor pilot in August 1963. From January until December 1966 he was assigned to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, flying the A-1E.
Upon his return to the United States, General Baker attended Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. He instructed in the West German air force fighter weapons school at Luke during 1968 and 1969.
From January until December 1970 General Baker attended the Royal Air Force Staff College. He subsequently was assigned to Wiesbaden Air Base, West Germany, as chief of the Rated Officer Assignment Branch, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe. He commanded the 23rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, West Germany, from February 1973 to July 1974. General Baker graduated from National War College in June 1975 and subsequently was assigned as chief of the Air Force Advisory Mission, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
In July 1976 he became assistant deputy commander for operations and, later, deputy commander for resource management with the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, England. The general returned to West Germany in September 1977 and served with the U.S. Air Forces in Europe as the command's director of inspection. From June 1980 to December 1981 General Baker commanded the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath, England. The general then transferred to Ramstein Air Base, West Germany, as assistant deputy chief of staff for operations at U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters.
General Baker returned from Europe in August 1982 and was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as deputy director of operations, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations. In June 1983 he was appointed director of international programs, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Programs and Resources, and in February 1985 he became director of personnel plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Manpower and Personnel.
The general was assigned as commander of 16th Air Force, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, with headquarters at Torrejon Air Base, Spain, in September 1985. In July 1987 he was assigned as vice commander, Headquarters Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. In October 1988 he became deputy commander in chief, United Nations Command; deputy commander, U.S. Forces Korea; commander, Air Component Command, Combined Forces Command, and commander, 7th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces, with headquarters at Osan Air Base and Yongsan Army Garrison, South Korea. In July 1990 he became vice commander, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. He assumed his present command in May 1991.
The general is a command pilot with 4,800 flying hours in a variety of tactical aircraft. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with "V" device and oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three stars, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
He was promoted to lieutenant general Nov. 1, 1988, with same date of rank.