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178th CES chief honored at retirement ceremony

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  • 178th Wing

Chief Master Sgt. James Baker, the facility manager with the 178th Wing Civil Engineer Squadron (CES), celebrated his retirement at Springfield Air National Guard Base in Springfield, Ohio, Dec. 2.

Baker served for 34 years in the Ohio Air National Guard. He enlisted in 1983 as a member of the 178th Civil Engineer Squadron. Baker served in a variety of roles within the squadron, ranging from a metal fabrication specialist to an operations superintendent.

Some of the civil engineering deployments Baker participated in allowed him to experience 45 states and 17 countries. During his deployment in 2012 to Afghanistan he was promoted to his final position of Civil Engineer Chief. Throughout his deployment he completed 25 projects totaling 5 million dollars.

Baker’s dedication to the civil engineering career field and mentoring his fellow service members did not go unnoticed.

“He’s been a really good mentor for me,” said Senior Airman Tyler Bostick, a member with the 178th Wing CES. “He was always the go-to person when you needed something done, or needed to know something.”

Maj. Michel Weitz, the 178th CES commander, reflected on her time working with Baker. Baker advised her on problems and concerns affecting the health, welfare and morale for all CES personnel.

“Anything I need, he takes care of it,” said Weitz. “Chief Baker was professional across the board.”

Several other members of the 178th CES gave testament to Baker’s positive impact on the squadron.

“He’s really good at his job, and he’s always got the answer,” said Staff Sgt. Brady Burns, an electrical power production specialist with the 178th CES.

“He has unlimited, vast amounts of knowledge,” said Capt. Daniel Worden, the operations officer with the 178th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Baker discussed his time in the Ohio Air National Guard and advised young Airmen on how to be successful.

“The most valuable thing has been the people,” said Baker. “They’re the most important asset in the Air Guard.”

“Have a passion for what you do,” said Baker. “But balance that passion with family time.”

Baker’s next career step is a civilian position at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. His more than three decades of service will be missed by his coworkers who relied on him as a knowledgeable resource, mentor, and friend.