Jet Pilot’s Paradise

Jet Pilot’s Paradise

Captain Bobby Baker is the new commanding officer of the NAS

Commanding Officer Captain Bobby “Beetle” Baker has only been head of Boca Chica’s NAS for four months and said he couldn’t be any luckier. FighterSweep.com named Key West’s NAS the number one Fighter Detachment location in the United States and he whole-heartedly agrees, he said. With the amazing weather, the boundless areas to fly and the after hours spearfishing, it’s a pilot’s dream.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Captain Baker started his career at West Point and entered the Army. Afterwards, he was headed to medical school but a buddy helped him realize flying fighter jets for the Navy was infinitely more exciting. (Thus his call name “Beetle,” after Beetle Bailey from the Army). Now with a 20-year career behind him, Captain Baker is an accomplished F-18 fighter pilot, completed two deployments embarked on USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), lived in Germany, Italy, England (Oxford University as a Senior Fellow at St. Antonys College), and two deployments embarked in USS Enterprise (CVN 65) in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

But Captain Baker isn’t the stereotypical stodgy military brass. Easy going and positive, he’s got a few funny stories to tell about his adventures. He has already fallen in love Key West’s clear blue skies because really let’s face it, as he says, “Flying is awesome.”

Twenty Questions:

1. Full Name: Captain Bobby John Baker

2. Worst nickname? Mule — the mascot at West Point was a jackass.

3. Name one famous person you would bring back to life, why? Steve Jobs so we can have more Apple products

4. Who’s your favorite TV or movie about the military? “Apocalypse Now,” the scene with the Huey’s …

5. What’s the funniest thing about all the commanders in Key West? They never leave! They have all retired here.

6. Which TV, movie or super hero character is your alter ego? I wish I could be Obi Wan.

7. What is your nerdiest passion? I am an electrical engineer and built computers for my sons.

8. If you could take one item on a deserted island, what would it be? Hot sauce.

9. How high have you flown? Let’s just say 50,000 and leave it at that.

10. What was your first thought this morning? I love Daylight Savings.

11. Favorite guilty pleasure? Twizzlers.

12. What misconception do people have about the Navy? People don’t realize how young, professional and diverse the Navy is.

13. If not the Navy, then what dream job would you have? Professional soccer player, Barcelona, Real Madrid or my favorite team, Bayern Munich.

14. If you could change someone’s opinion, what would it be? People are too pessimistic. They need to see the glass as half full, not half empty.

15. You are sitting at a diner counter eating. Who would you want to walk in and sit next to you? Brooke Shields. (Ironically, that did happen in a little movie called “Chalet Girl” when Captain Baker was an extra on the movie set.)

16. Scariest moment flying? Either the time I lost an engine landing on an aircraft carrier at night, or the time my canopy was open landing on a carrier at night. (He’s been shot at, too.)

Finish these sentences …

17. My wife would describe me as … Rico Suave.

18. My autobiography would be titled … “Be Careful What you Ask for You Just Might Get it.”

19. “Top Gun,” the movie … makes me want to put on dog tags and play beach volleyball.

20. I almost was … a doctor. I was headed to med school but decided to fly jets instead.

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Baker has logged more than 3,400 flight hours, 104 combat sorties and 778 carrier landings. His individual awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with combat V, five Strike/Flight Air Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals (one with combat V), Army Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Commander Carrier Air Wing One Pilot of the Year, and the LCDR Michael Longardt Award for Leadership from Commander, Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic. 

 

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