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Sergeant Major (Retired) Bill Baker was recently honored with the prestigious Order of St. Michael (OSM) award, recognizing his outstanding contributions to Army Aviation spanning over four decades. The OSM, established in 1990 as a collaboration between the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) and the U.S. Army Aviation Center (USAAVNC), acknowledges individuals who have significantly promoted and served Army Aviation with distinction.

The OSM is named after Saint Michael, the biblical archangel recognized for his unwavering courage and commitment to protecting and defending others. Known as the heavenly prince and leader of angels, Saint Michael symbolizes the battle against evil and the struggle between good and evil forces. Throughout history, depictions of Saint Michael have portrayed him triumphing over a dragon, representing the bravery and gallantry associated with Army Aviation soldiers.

Bill Baker’s accomplishments align perfectly with the values embodied by Saint Michael. His remarkable career included impactful contributions to Army Aviation readiness, training, and the employment of resources and soldiers at operational, tactical, and strategic levels. Even after his retirement in 2001, Baker devoted himself tirelessly to assisting soldiers transitioning into civilian life and accessing the Veterans Administration system for healthcare and benefits.

One of Baker’s noteworthy achievements was aiding over a thousand Army Aviators in successfully filing their Veterans Administration claims, ensuring they received the support and benefits they deserved. His efforts extended beyond individual assistance, as he played a key role in securing the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs Soldier Home contract for the City of Enterprise, benefiting veterans throughout the state. Moreover, Baker mentored numerous transitioning veterans, offering guidance and support through the Skill Bridge Program.

Baker’s passion for assisting aviation soldiers and their families led him to serve at various levels within the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization. He held positions such as Chapter Service Officer, Chapter Commander, Department Commander, and National Commander’s Chief of Staff. Currently, he serves on the National DAV Board of Directors, continuing his commitment to supporting veterans.

Recognized for his exceptional dedication, Baker wrote the winning proposal for the Command Sergeant Major Bennie G. Adkins Soldier Home, ensuring that service members in the Wiregrass Community have a designated location for intense medical care during their final years. His contributions extend to the City of Enterprise and Fort Novosel, evident by his longstanding role as Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee for the past 12 years and his election as Vice-Chairman of Mainstreet Enterprise for 2 years. Furthermore, Baker serves on the Board of Directors for the Army Aviation Museum Foundation.

Bill Baker’s induction into the Order of St. Michael signifies the highest level of recognition for his remarkable achievements and unwavering commitment to Army Aviation. His contributions, both during his military service and throughout his civilian life, exemplify the values of integrity, moral character, ethical conduct, professional competence, and dedication to duty that the award represents.

As an inspirational figure, Bill Baker’s legacy serves as a testament to the impact that one person can make in shaping and advancing the field of Army Aviation. His selfless dedication and unwavering support for veterans continue to make a profound difference in the lives of many, leaving an indelible mark on the Army Aviation community as a whole.