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Commander Zathan Baker

Commander Zathan Baker, a native of Pagosa Springs, Colo., enlisted in the U.S. Navy in September 1992. Following Aviation Mechanic Ejection (AME) “A” school in Memphis. Tenn., he reported to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field in Milton, Fla., and, later, was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 at Cecil Field Fla., where he received an NROTC scholarship to attend the University of Colorado in the fall of 1994. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering and was subsequently commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy in 1998.
In December that year he reported to Vance Air Force Base, Enid, Okla., for primary flight training, then returned to NAS Whiting Field for advanced flight training in the TH-57 “Jet Ranger,” and, finally, to the SH-60B Fleet Replacement Squadron at NAS North Island, Coronado, Calif.
In April 2001, Baker reported to the “EasyRiders” of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light (HSL) 37, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. While attached to the EasyRiders, he deployed in support of operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, as well as counter narcotics operations with Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (JIATF) South, Key West, Fla.
In September 2004, Baker joined the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC), Fallon, Nev. Duties included teaching at the Seahawk Weapons and Tactics School, Mountain Flying, as well as air wing training in the Bravo, Foxtrot, and Hotel versions of Sikorsky’s H-60 “Seahawk” helicopter.
In October 2007, Baker checked in to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 staff as the Helicopter Operations Officer while the air wing completed the first deployment of the MH-60R and MH-60S aircraft with Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3 onboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN) 74 in July 2009.
Following his staff tour, Baker reported to the “Raptors” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71. During his Department Head tour, he served as squadron operations officer and completed a WESTPAC deployment as part of the USS John C. Stennis and CVW 9 team.
In September 2012, Baker reported to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. He graduated with distinction from the Naval War College’s Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) program and earned his master’s in National Security Studies with an emphasis on the Western Hemisphere.
After graduating from the Naval Post Graduate School in March 2014, he reported to the Undersea Warfighting Development Center (UWDC) in San Diego, Calif. where he served as the helicopter aviation lead for Strike Group Training. His duties included undersea warfare training and evaluation of all deploying strike groups on both the east and west coasts.
From November 2017 until November 2020, Baker served as the NAS Fallon operations officer and the officer in charge of the Navy’s premiere High Altitude “Longhorn” Search and Rescue Team, recognized for supporting every Carrier Air Wing in the US Navy along with multi-service and multi-national personnel.
On March 31, 2021, Baker assumed the duties and responsibilities as executive officer at Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi, Japan. Baker has logged more than 3000 flight hours. His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Air Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various campaign and unit awards.

Last Updated: 31 July 2023


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Commander, Navy Region Japan Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan   |   PSC 473 Box 12   |   FPO AP, 96349-0001
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