Retired Rear Admiral Baker to become first Midland High graduate to earn Arlington Rites


Adm. Edward (Ted) Bigelow Baker, Jr. will become the first Midland High School graduate to earn the rites of Arlington National Cemetery as a retired flag officer when he is buried there in July, following his death on January 26, 2022, according to Sam Cox, director of Sextant, the Navy’s military history compendium.

Records indicate services will be held July 8, 2022, at Grace Church in Alexandria, Va., followed by interment at Arlington National Cemetery.

A graduate and president of the Midland High School Class of 1955, Baker spent his final weeks at home in Washington, D.C., a highly decorated retired Rear Admiral, USN, former executive director of the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University , and a retired associate dean for finance and administration at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

He was known for his leadership, strength of character, intellect and sense of humor, Cox noted.

At various times in his career, he held high-level positions for the Navy, including leading the cleanup efforts in Prince William Sound as commander of Amphibious Ready Group Three, San Diego, following the oil spill. of 11 million gallons of the Exxon Valdez in 1989. Baker was also deputy commander of the entire successful spill effort by the United States Joint Forces, which caused immediate and long-term damage to fish, birs and other wild animals.

As senior military representative for U.S. negotiations on Philippine bases, he worked with Ambassador Richard Armitage to return military installations to the Philippines and testified before the U.S. Congress on a number of issues, including Soviet actions in the Pacific, knowledge that is becoming increasingly strategic. important on a daily basis.

The Michigan native was born in 1937 in Detroit, the second of five children to Dr. and Mrs. Edward B. and Elizabeth Baker and grew up in the historic Midland neighborhood on East Park Drive. Leadership came easily to young people, recognized for their skills before the age of 17. He earned his Eagle Scout merit badges in record time and traveled to Washington, DC twice to meet with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, first as a recipient of the Order of the Arrow. then as one of Michigan’s two representatives to Boys Nation.

Baker entered the US Naval Academy the summer after graduation, where he did letters in athletics, rose through the ranks from midshipman to battalion commander, and graduated with honors.

After graduation, he served as a 1st Lieutenant on the destroyer USS Hale (DD 642) and Assistant Weapons Officer aboard USS Myles C. Fox (DDR 829), which helped oppose an insurgency waged by Cubans in the Dominican Republic. Then he was at the University of Michigan as a Burke Scholar, where he earned a master’s degree in physics and met his future wife Michal Forster (1942-1975). They married and moved to Newport, RI, serving there as an operations officer aboard USS Davis (DD 937).

After Newport, Ted returned to the University of Michigan to continue his graduate studies in the field of operations research. They had two children, Sam and Sarah, before Ted was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Systems Analysis Division. After a year in Washington, DC, Ted served as Executive Officer of USS Hoel (DDG 13). In 1970, Ted took command of the USS Bronstein (FF 1037).

While Ted was captain of the Bronstein, Michal fell ill with a brain tumor. The Navy moved the family to Washington DC so that Michal could receive experimental treatment at Johns Hopkins University. During Michal’s illness, Ted’s shore visits were to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, the Brookings Institute as a Federal Executive Fellow, the Office of the Secretary of Defense where he served as Assistant to the Secretary and Under Secretary , and as a student at the National War College.

After a five-year battle with cancer, Michal passed away in September 1975.

After her burial in Arlington, Ted returned to sea, commissioning USS David R. Ray (DD 971) in Pascagoula, Miss., and taking the ship through the Panama Canal to her new port of ties to San Diego.

After this tour at sea, he returned to Washington where he married Stephanie Levinson, then working for CBS. They were married for 38 years until Stephanie passed away from cancer in July 2020. They raised two children together, Alexis and Edward (Teddy).

On subsequent visits ashore, after serving as Chief of the Multipurpose Forces Branch of the Systems Analysis Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Ted’s focus shifted to Asia. He served as Executive Assistant to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command, Deputy Chief of Staff for Staff Operations to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Director of East Asia. Eastern and Pacific Region Office of the Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs).

He helped analyze Soviet actions in the Pacific, the South Pacific nuclear-weapon-free zones, the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, and POW/MIA issues. He helped redefine the US-New Zealand defense relationship and advance the US-Japan security relationship. In his last job with the Navy, he was director of the Division of Strategy, Plans, Policy and Operations in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Ted’s awards were numerous, 40 in all, and included four Distinguished Service Medals, two Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Navy Commendation Medal (2), Action Ribbon Meritorious Unit Award, Navy “E” Ribbon, Navy Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Ribbon Coast Guard Special Operations, Vietnam Service, and Sea Command Insignia.

After retiring from the Navy, Ted became executive director of the Johns Hopkins Foreign Policy Institute.

Ted was predeceased by his parents Edward (Ned) and Elizabeth (Betty) and his sister Mary Julia Baker McLaughlin.

Ted is survived by his children, five grandchildren—Michael, Stuart, Anna B, Sammy and Amalie; his sisters Kaye Baker Kelley and Liz Baker Gaspar, and his brother William (Bill) Baker, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

With a twinkle in his eye, the warmest smiles, and an affinity for bad puns, Ted was always interested in ideas and others. This, combined with his positive attitude and integrity, inspired admiration from everyone who met him, Cox noted.

Ralph E, Wirtz is a Midland County native and former editor of the Midland Daily News. He retired in 2015 and continued to write and report, which he has done for 55 years, since his freshman year at Bullock Creek in 1967. He graduated from Central Michigan University and is a veteran of eight years of the United States Navy.


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