Jill V. Baker – Colonel, United States Air Force

Jill Baker, 53, an Air Force Colonel and Nurse who treated the American hostages after  their release from captivity in Iran in 1981, died of bacterial meningitis December 22, 2006, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Colonel Baker, stationed at Wiesbaden, Germany, met the first released U.S. Embassy hostage in an ambulance as the jet arrived at the base. Richard I. Queen, the Vice Consul, was released in July 1980 because he had multiple sclerosis. When the remaining hostages were released January 20, 1981, they stopped first on Colonel Baker's ward, and she was among the nurses who treated them.

In 1978, she treated a survivor of the mass suicide and murder at Jonestown, Guyana, and in 1983 nursed survivors from the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.

Colonel Baker held successively more challenging medical leadership positions at Air Force bases in New Mexico and the Air Force Academy. She was made the first commander of the 83rd Medical Operations Squadron in Osan, South Korea, in 1994, and her last posting was as chief nurse executive at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas.

After retiring in 2000, she lived in Mount Vernon and served on the board of the Mount Vernon Yacht Club. She was a member of the Yacht Haven Garden Club and the Society of Air Force Nurses. For several years, she laid wreaths on the graves of Air Force nurses at Arlington National Cemetery.

Born in Lake Arrowhead, California, she grew up in Cresline, California. She became a registered nurse at the College of the Desert in Palm Springs, California, then joined the Air Force in 1975. She received a master's degree in nursing management in 1988 from the University of New Mexico and in 1998 received a second master's degree, in national security studies, from the Air War College.

Survivors include her husband of 28 years, Craig Baker of Mount Vernon; two children, Cody Baker of Mount Vernon and Kim Baker of Denver; and her mother, Marie Venne of Desert Hot Springs, California.

Colonel Baker was laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on 9 February 2007.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 12/12/1953
  • DATE OF DEATH: 12/22/2006

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