Retired April 1, 1981. Died Oct. 17, 2000.
Major General Merton W. Baker is commander of the Air Force Contract Management Division, Air Force Systems Command, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
General Baker was born in Tomahawk, Wis., in 1924. He graduated from Evansville (Wis.) High School in June 1942 and attended Whitewater (Wis.) State Teachers College and Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.
In January 1943 he entered active military duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps and graduated from advanced flying school in March 1944 at Frederick, Okla., where he received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant.
The general completed B-24 pilot training at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, and in July 1944 was assigned to the 829th Bombardment Group in Italy. From February to November 1945, he was assigned to Fairfield Susun Army Air Base, Calif., flying C-54s in the Pacific Theater. In November 1945 he separated from active military service.
In April 1953 General Baker returned to active duty and pilot refresher training at Malden Air Force Base, Mo. From June 1953 until September 1957, he served at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., as a T-33 instructor pilot and later as a B-47 instructor pilot.
In September 1957 he was assigned to the Boeing Company in Wichita, Kan., as a B-52 flight test and acceptance pilot. From February 1962 to January 1964, he was in charge of the Cessna Air Force Contract Management Office in Wichita. His next assignment was with the Air Force Plant Representative Office, Douglas Aircraft Company, Tulsa, Okla., as chief of the Contract Administration Division and also as a B-52 instructor pilot.
After completing EB-66 pilot training at Shaw Air Force Base, S. C., in January 1968, General Baker served as an EB-66 aircraft commander for a year with the 42nd Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. He returned to the United States in February 1969 and was assigned to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, as chief of the Procurement Management Division, Directorate of Procurement, Headquarters Air Training Command.
In May 1970 General Baker was assigned to the Air Force Plant Representative Office at General Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas, as deputy Air Force plant representative. In November 1972 he was named Air Force plant representative and served in that position until October 1974. He then spent nine months at Fairchild Republic Company, Farmingdale, N.Y., as the Air Force plant representative.
He transferred to Kirtland Air Force Base in August 1975 as vice commander of the Air Force Contract Management Division. He assumed his present command in January 1977.
General Baker is a command pilot with 185 combat missions and more than 7,000 flying hours, the majority of which were in B-47s, B-52s, T-33s, T-37s, T-39s and EB-66s.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.
General Baker was promoted to major general June 1, 1980, with date of rank July 1, 1976.