Some students remember meeting Michael Baker at orientation, but shortly thereafter he received orders to deploy to Qatar as an All Source Intelligence Chief with the United States Army. Below, he shares some of his thoughts and experiences.
How did you feel when you heard the news that you were being deployed?
It was no surprise when I received my orders to deploy. I was in the middle of transferring units from Twinsburg Ohio to Fort Belvoir Virginia when I came across an email saying they needed Intelligence Officers in Qatar. I volunteered for this deployment. Being in the middle of transferring units, it was very difficult trying to get assigned to this unit. Through hundreds of emails and a four-month wait, I received my orders right after student orientation. Since I was not sure if I was going to get this assignment, I signed up for classes and was ready to start the fall semester when my orders finally came through.
What is your work like in Qatar?
Being the All Source Intelligence Chief, I am responsible for all the Intelligence products produced for military assets in Qatar. I pull Intelligence reports from every type of Intelligence asset in the country in order to provide Commanders with actionable intelligence for Qatar and surrounding nations. I am also responsible for overseeing and developing subordinate Intelligence units within Qatar.
What sort of intelligence work have you done before? How long have you been with the Army?
I started Army R.O.T.C. at John Carroll University in 2008 and commissioned as an Intelligence officer in the Army Reserve in 2011. My MOS is 35D, All Source Intelligence Analyst. After I went to my Officer Basic Course at Fort Huachuca Arizona, I knew I wanted to pursue Intelligence work as a full time career. I served as an Assistant S-2 in 2nd PSYOP Group in Twinsburg Ohio, essentially the second person in charge of an Intelligence section. I was the Anti-Terrorism Officer in charge of force protection and the Foreign Disclosure Officer. There were twenty-one companies and over 2,300 soldiers in the 2nd PSYOP Group.
I left this unit when I was accepted to The Institute of World Politics and transferred to the 751/752 Combat Support Company O9L Interpreter Translator aids under the Military Intelligence Readiness Command. This unit is the only unit of its kind in the Army Reserve and one of two in the entire United States Army. My Soldiers meet Active Duty requirements expected of every soldier but they are native born translators from Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Syria and Sudan to name a few.
How did you decide that you wanted to serve your country by joining the Army?
I decided to join the military hiking the Appalachian Trail in Boy Scouts. I still remember a younger scout struggling on the trail one day, this being his first year. Instinctively I grabbed his pack, threw it on my back, and finished hiking for the day. After this experience I wanted a job where I could lead and put the needs of my subordinates before my own. This motivated me to complete the R.O.T.C. program and become an Army Officer.
Why did you choose IWP, and what do you look forward to studying when you return next fall?
If an Intelligence Officer ever says that they do not need to learn more or knows everything, that person has already failed. I choose IWP for the challenging curriculum that would supplement my military experience. IWP will enhance my ability to make more informed decisions when it counts. I look forward to coming back to IWP to concentrate my studies on Counterintelligence and Irregular Warfare.
The photo above is a picture of Michael's unit patch.
My Grandfather's dog tag is actually above mine. He served in WW2 as a welder for the 9th Army Air Corps. This unit fell under Patton's Third Army. Today I serve with Area Support Group Qatar, also with the Third Army. Like Grandfather, Like Grandson.
[Note: Michael's flag is his left shoulder flag with the field facing forward, which is why it appears backward in the photo.]
The Institute of World Politics thanks Michael for his service to our country and looks forward to his return next fall.