An Army Medical Service Corps officer ended three decades of military service during a retirement ceremony July 11 in Philadelphia.
Army Lt. Col. Jimmy Baker, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Medical supply chain’s Operational Customer Facing Division chief, retired after 30 years of combined service as both an enlisted soldier and officer.
During the ceremony, Baker said he felt like “a lottery winner” because of his family’s love and support that served as a foundation for his career.
“When I say I'm a lottery winner, it has nothing to do with luck,” Baker said. “I was blessed with parents who, despite having very little money and no education beyond high school, taught me some very valuable lessons.”
Baker credits his parents for instilling the values of hard work, treating people right and doing the right thing, and his grandparents’ unconditional love and positive influences to his success.
Baker also thanked his wife, daughters and in-laws in attendance for their unwavering support and love, while also demonstrating the resilience needed as a military family.
With emotional praise, Baker spoke highly of his wife for her support and dedication to both his career and their family, while “epitomizing the strength of the Army family.”
“She's done what many would expect an Army officer’s wife to do as she supported her soldier, supported other soldiers, led Family Readiness Groups, and volunteered at the Army Community Service, but she's [done more than that],” Baker said. “When our kids were very young, she sacrificed career aspirations to be a full-time mom…and I really believe that full-time mom is a job that's so much more important than any job I’ve held in the Army.”
Baker also thanked the many service members and civilians who affected him in different ways.
“From the time I raised my right hand and took the oath of enlistment…I've been blessed with mentorship, support and assistance from too many soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Department of Defense and Army civilians to count,” Baker said. “So many folks have been key and instrumental in any success I've had in my military career, and I'm incredibly thankful for all of them.”
The presiding officer, Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence, DLA Troop Support commander, highlighted Baker’s accomplishments, professionalism and leadership capabilities.
“As times have changed over the past few decades, your commitment to service and leading the people under you have been a staple of your proud military service,” Lawrence said. “You’ve lived your life and served your country by the Army’s values, and learned that hard work pays off. As you begin this next phase of your life, I know you will carry the values of our military service with you, wherever life takes you.”
Baker enlisted in the Army in 1989 and served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm before commissioning in 1994. He served in various medical logistics and health care administration leadership positions throughout his 30-year career.
Baker said he is ready for the next chapter, but he still plans to support service members.
“Having been in the Army my entire adult life, I have to admit that I'm a bit nervous about what lies ahead,” Baker said. “I'm happy knowing that I’ll get to continue to serve and support warfighters, just in a different role and wearing some different clothing. But I take comfort in knowing that the Army itself will continue to excel long after I fade away.”