Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Baker is the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for health resources and programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), Washington, D.C.
General Baker was born in Hazard, Ky., in 1924, where he graduated from high school in 1942. He then attended Cumberland College at Williamsburg, Ky., and in 1943, under the U.S. Navy V-12 program, enrolled in Berea College, Ky., and continued college while serving in the Navy. After an assignment at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Key West, Fla., he entered the University of Louisville School of Medicine as a Navy midshipman and graduated in 1947.
General Baker completed his medical internship and residency in pathology at Philadelphia General Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa., in 1950, and in September 1950 entered the Air Force at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. Between December 1950 and June 1952 he served in Japan and Korea as the light surgeon.
In June 1952 General Baker returned to the United States for residency in general surgery at Massachusetts Memorial and Temple University hospitals. From July 1955 to August 1959, he was on the surgical staff at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. From August 1959 to August 1962 he was in England at Royal Air Force Station Burderop, Burderop Park, as chief of surgery and consultant in surgery to the surgeon, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
In September 1962, General Baker was transferred to Scott Air Force Base, Ill., where he served as chief, General Surgery Section, Department of Surgery, USAF Hospital, for one and one-half years, and then was named commander of the 1607th USAF Hospital at Dover Air Force Base, Del.
From July 1966 to July 1972, General Baker served with the Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, where he was instrumental in the development of the U.S. Air Force Hospital System and the Physician Assistant Program. He also supervised the development of the first Air Force medical manpower standards.
General Baker was named deputy surgeon of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe in July 1972 and became surgeon in March 1973. In June 1974 he was appointed director of medical plans and resources, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and in August 1975 became deputy surgeon general, U.S. Air Force.
He assumed his present duty as assistant secretary of defense for health resources and programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), in December 1976.
General Baker was a principal member of a Department of Defense/American Medical Association subcommittee which successfully brought about the accreditation of military medical training in several civil occupations. This action was an important step in easing the national shortage of health care personnel in the United States.
He is the author of several papers on medical subjects; is a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery; a fellow and governor of the American College of Surgeons; and a member of the American Medical Association, the Aerospace Medical Association and several other medical organizations. He has been a member of the Board of Visitors of Harvard University since 1971.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster. He is rated a chief flight surgeon with more than 2,200 flying hours.
General Baker was promoted to the grade of major general on July 1, 1975, with date of rank Oct. 1, 1972.
(Current as of November 2011)