National Sojourners®

"When we assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside the citizen."

CWO4 James A. Baker, USN (Ret)

Feb 25, 2024

National President #80 (2016-2017)

Personal:  James A. Baker was born in Dallas, Texas, on 12 February 1944 to Frank P. and Kathrine Dromgoole.  His father passed away on 28 March 1950, and his mother moved the family to Austin, Texas. In 1952, his mother married Eugene S. Baker, who adopted the two brothers, changing their name to Baker.  Jim attended grade and high school in Austin and enlisted in the Navy in November 1962.  He received his GED in 1963, an Associate Degree in Data Processing from Northern Virginia Community College in 1976, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from American University in 1987, a Master of Business Administration Degree from American University in 1991, and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1996.  He was a member of Who’s Who in American Community Colleges (1975) and Phi-Kappa-Phi Honor Society (1987).  He married Kay Louise (nee Menhennett) Baker on 17 May 1991.  He has two children from a previous marriage, Eugene S. Baker III and Phyllis A. Baker (Mottern); two grandsons, and one great-grandson.  After his Navy career, Brother CWO4 Baker was a Registered Massage Therapist and Healing Touch Practitioner (1996-2003) and an Adult Probation Officer for Williamson County Texas (2003-15). In 2019, he published the book, Eternal Optimist: How to Make Things Happen, an Amazon Best Seller.  In addition, he created an audio book and continues to spread optimism as a keynote speaker.  He was a member of Sons of the American Revolution in Georgetown, Texas beginning in 2022.  

Uniformed Service:  James A. Baker initially served as a BSN on a sea-going tugboat at Mayport Naval Base, Florida (1962-64).  He was a student for basic and advanced training at Corry Station, Florida (1964-66), advancing to PO3.  He became a Watch Supervisor at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (1966-68), advancing to PO2.  From August to October 1968, PO2 Baker was a student at the Advanced Non-Morse Signals Analysis School at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. After training, PO1 Baker was assigned to Naval Communications Station, Guam as a senior analyst (1968-70).  PO1 Baker was Watch Supervisor for USN and USAF specialized signals analysis at Naval Security Group Detachment San Antonio, Texas (1970) and at Bremerhaven, West Germany (1970-72). PO1 Baker was assigned at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland as a Signals Analyst (1972-74).  He attended Northern Virginia Community College, earning an Associate Degree in the Associate Degree Completion Program, graduating Summa Cum Laude and being selected to Who’s Who in American Junior Colleges (1974-76).  Upon graduation, PO1 Baker was assigned to Adak, Alaska as Division Chief in the Naval Security Group (1976-77) and later to Edzell, Scotland in the Naval Security Group (1977-80), where he was promoted to CPO (1980).  He was assigned to Headquarters Naval Security Group Command in Washington, D.C., as a Signals Analyst and Vulnerability Assessment Officer (1980-86), where he produced the Navy Communications Security film, “A Piece of the Puzzle.”  He was Commissioned to the Rank of CWO2 (1983) and CWO3 (1986).  After attending night classes for several years, he attended the American University, Washington, D.C., earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (1987), graduating Magna Cum Laude and being selected to Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.  CWO3 Baker then served as Branch Head for sailors and civilians conducting highly specialized signals analysis at the Naval Intelligence Support Activity in Suitland, Maryland (1987-88). CWO3 Baker was selected as Operations Officer of the Naval Security Group Detachment, Sinop, Turkey (1988) supervising 75 Navy Signals Analysts. CWO3 Baker returned to Headquarters Naval Security Group Command as a Vulnerability Assessment Officer (1989-93), where he was immediately promoted to CWO4 and where he assessed the vulnerability of various Navy systems, including the SPY-1 Radar and Tomahawk Missile and the Phalanx Close-In Weapons Systems. During this tour he received his MBA before retiring on 1 February 1993. 

Masonic History: Brother James A. Baker was raised a Master Mason in North Esk Marinus Lodge #1676 in Laurencekirk, Scotland in 1978, where he was a Life Member. In the York Rite, he became a 32° Knights Templar in Scotland in 1980.  He affiliated as an Endowed Member with Liberty Hill Lodge #432 in Texas in 1994, was Master in 2001-02, and served as DDGM in 2005. In the Scottish Rite, he became a Master of the Royal Secret in Alexandria Valley in Virginia in 1992, affiliated as an Endowed Member with the Austin Valley in 1994, became a 32° K.C.C.H. in 2005, and was coronated 33° I.G.H. in 2021. He served the bodies as Almoner.

National Sojourners:  Brother CWO4 Baker joined Anson Jones Chapter #507 in October 2002 and became a Hero in January 2003. He was Chapter President in 2008-09, Chapter Secretary in 2012-18, and Commander of MAJ Samuel H. Parsons Camp in 2009-10. He attended his first National Convention in 2008, served as Regional Representative in South-Central South Area in 2009-11, and served as Deputy Area Representative in 2011-12. He hosted the 94th and 97th National Conventions and the 91st Mid-Winter Meeting, all in Austin.  For the 97th National Convention, he was National President, Host Chapter Secretary, NASOCOCO Treasurer, and Editor of the Annual Souvenir Book.  As his Chapter’s Essay Contest Chairman in 2012-Present, he coordinated Essay evaluations, forwarded Chapter winners to the National HQ, and had two Chapter winners who received 1st Place in 2012 and 3rd Place in 2018 for National Scholarships.  He helped write the final line in our Closing Prayer, “and Oh, Lord, please guide and protect our uniformed forces wherever dispersed.”  Brother CWO4 Baker became a National Officer on the Committee of 33 in 2010 and was selected to serve as National Sentinel, Heroes of ’76.  The following year, he was promoted to Jr. Lt. and selected to the Royal Order of Barrow Wheelers.  At the 92nd National Convention in 2012, CWO4 Baker was elected as N3VP, requiring him to resign his position in the Heroes of ’76 progressive line, the Committee of 33, and Area Representative.  Following his election, he established the First Timers Committee, which continues to provide information to those attending their first annual meeting.  As National President he re-wrote many of National Sojourners’ documents, as Active Membership was opened to All Ranks. During his term as National President, Brother James A. Baker re-activated two Chapters:  Fort Stewart #396 and Garden State #438.  In 2017, he was elected as a National Trustee and was subsequently selected to serve as the Chairman of NASOCOCO as well as the Investment Committee.  In 2021, he was elected to his 2nd term as National Trustee and to the Honor Awards Committee.  

Brother James A. Baker, 33° laid down his working tools on 25 February 2024.   He is survived by Lady and Grande Dame Kay Baker, who lives in the country near Liberty Hill, Texas.  

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SSgt Charles Earl Warren, Sr., 33°

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