Lieutenant Colonel Tom Baker, a well loved, widely known and highly respected 16 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack Monday, 12 June 2002.
He was a first year Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) student of Systems Acquisition Management Curriculum. A consummate professional, devoted ‘family man' and father of three sons, he died while doing one of the things he loved – playing basketball – during PT in the NPS gym. Then Major Baker, had been selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, and was posthumously promoted with approval from Headquarters Marine Corps.
Thomas W. Baker was born in York, Pennsylvania, on 20 August 1962 and grew up in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a BS degree in Physical Science in 1984 and was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
His first duty assignment after completion of The Basic School in March 1985 was as a Platoon Commander with 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California. A year later, he was reassigned to the 1st Light Armored Vehicle Battalion as a Platoon Commander. Transferring from Camp Pendleton in January 1988, he was reassigned to Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where he served first as a Guard Officer and then as the Commanding Officer of both Headquarters and Service Company and later of Guard Company. In August 1991, he transferred to Quantico, Virginia, to attend Amphibious Warfare School, graduating AWC-92. He was next assigned to Battalion Landing Team 3/8, 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in June 1992, where he served briefly as the Assistant Operations Officer before assuming command as Commanding Officer, Company L. During this tour he participated in Operations PROVIDE PROMISE, DENY FLIGHT, and SHARP GUARD while deployed in the Adriatic Sea.
In June 1994, he returned to The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, this time as an instructor, Combined Arms Section Head, Chief of the Instructional Group and as Commanding Officer of Company B, BOC-97. During his final year at Quantico he also served as Staff Secretary for President Marine Corps University. In August 1998, he joined the 3d Marine Division's Staff as G-3 Plans Officer. He departed Okinawa in July 1999 and reported to the Naval Postgraduate School. Colonel Baker's decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with one star.
Colonel Baker is survived by his wife, Teresa, and three young sons “T.J.”, age four; Dennis, two and Nicholas, nine months; his sisters Sandra Baker, her husband Joshua Hayes from Lemoore, California, Dawna Baker, and stepbrothers Mike Meister and Jack Meister. Teresa's Mother, Dottie Berrios, sister Angie and brother Greg, all of, Lowell, Massachusetts. Memorial services were held in the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Chapel NPS Monday, 19 June. Burial with full military honors will be conducted at Arlington National Cemetery 12 July at 1100. Uniform Dress Blue White A or closest equivalent. Marine mourners are requested to assemble at Arlington National Cemetery Administrative building at 1030.
The Marines at Naval Postgraduate School have set up a fund for the children.
Donations can be made via check payable to: NFCU for: Thomas Baker
Donations can mailed to: Marine Corps Representative
Naval Postgraduate School Code 037
555 Dyer Road
BAKER, THOMAS W
- LT COL US MARINE CORPS
- VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 05/23/1984 – 06/12/2000
- DATE OF BIRTH: 08/20/1962
- DATE OF DEATH: 06/12/2000
- DATE OF INTERMENT: 07/12/2000
- BURIED AT: SECTION 68 SITE 2453
- ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard