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