The Southern Ute Indian Tribe celebrated a special retirement ceremony in honor of Raymond A. Baker, Chief Warrant Officer Four (CWO4) of the United States Navy on Friday, Aug. 14 at the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Washington. This concludes his thirty-year service in the Navy from 1985 to 2015. Baker was joined by his family and fellow Naval recruits in the Naval Undersea Museum Auditorium to celebrate his service.
“Ray’s a remarkable man. He has a remarkable career and he has a remarkable family,” Louis O. Deflice, Command Master Chief of the Naval Experimental Diving Unit said. “Whenever someone needed anything, they always went to him for help. He also commands and demands a lot of respect … He’s a character of fictional novels, and I am blessed to tell stories of him today”.
Baker is born to parents Archie Baker and Diana Cambridge Baker. His grandparents are Cassimero “Casey” Baker and Edna Russell Baker. He is the fifth of six children.
In 1985, Baker joined the Navy from Durango, Colo. and attended Recruit Training in Illinois. He then transferred to the USS Brewton to await orders for the Navy’s Deep Sea Diver School, where he then reported to the USS Orion for diving duty and submarine repair.
In 1991, Baker reported to the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center for extensive training in underwater diving. After completion of the training, Baker was transferred to the Naval Underwater Warfare Center for hyperbaric therapy training.
In 2000, Baker moved up in rank to Chief Boatswain Mate/Diver. In March 2004, he received commission as a Naval Officer from the President of the United States to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Two (CWO2). He then graduated from officer training at Mustang University in Florida after receiving his commission. In 2008, Baker was selected for two CNO/Special Program commands: Naval Research Laboratory as a Department Head/Command Diving Officer, and Specialized Research Diving Detachment as Officer-in-Charge (OIC).
After 30 years of naval service to the United States, retirement was on the horizon. His career accomplishments were recognized Navy wide in leadership, attention to detail, and management.
“I appreciate what everyone did to help me move forward in my career,” Baker said. “From my experience, what I have to say is support your kids, support wives, and support your significant others. They are the ones who will be there to the end, so always respect them. And most importantly, never forget where you come from, appreciate the origins.”
Southern Ute Councilman, Tyson Thompson, honored Baker’s services with a traditional song. Raymond’s sister, Linda Baker, honored Raymond’s naval colleagues with a Pendleton blanket blessed by the Ute tribes.
“These men have been close to our brother Ray, and we see them as part of our family,” Linda said.
Baker addressed in a statement prior to his retirement, “Our tribal youths need to have the opportunity to learn these values in order to ensure our continued success for our future. We have always had a sense of duty to value and protect our family, our tribe, and our people. As stated by Sitting Bull, ‘I we must die, we die defending our rights and land”.