Joseph Davidson Baker graduated from Van Buren last year and signed his Air Force contract, sending him on his way to Basic Training in late August of last year. Baker didn’t imagine enlisting in the Air Force until 17, and currently does his schooling and training at the Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. Baker’s next base is the Hill Air Force Base, south of Ogden, Utah. Currently in the Air Force for Intelligence, he has learned how to “think outside of the box, better than the average people in life, get and present information to our Commanders, and figure out threats that other countries pose to our Air Force.”
Two life-changing things that have Joseph excited about the Air Force are his collegiate enrollment and a lifelong career. The Air Force provides partial to full tuition reimbursement in a wide variety of private and public schools. Secondly, it will provide him a variety of career options. Baker plans on staying in the Air Force until he can get a government job because it gives him a better advantage of taking the three-letter jobs (CIA, NSA, DIA) among others. These jobs will give him “a lot of money, and I’ll be able to save people’s lives.”
Baker said that being in the Air Force and completing basic training has made him physically and mentally stronger. Mondays through Saturdays consisted of excessive running and grueling workouts, while Sunday was called Church Day. He explained that the break on Sundays got “a lot of guys through training.” Spending time with guys aiming to graduate basic training gave Baker the chance to form “brotherships with strangers. When you’re in the future, say Afghanistan, and it’s just you and the guy next to you, you know
Baker’s family history inspired him to join the military. Almost every man in his family had gone into the Navy, and Baker chose the Air Force because of the future he imagined. He is trying to be a role model for his little brother, and explained, “I just want him to see that ‘this is what I’m doing. I’m doing something good. If I can do it, he can too.’”
What’s the biggest obstacle you had to overcome in graduating Basic Training?
It would probably be pretty much not losing composure and staying strong through the hard days. I wasn’t really scared, but I was a little nervous and optimistic going in.
How often were you allowed to communicate with people back at home in Basic Training? Now?
We were able to send letters everyday. We could only make 3 phone calls the whole time, and
What sayings/ mottos got you through Basic Training?
1.) Live your life so that the fear of evil may never enter your heart.
2.) I have this one tattooed on my side, it says: For those I love, I will sacrifice.
Do you have any plans of being stationed abroad?
Oh yeah. I would love to be in Germany or Italy, because of the culture and those countries seem awesome to me. But any country would be cool.
Do you have any advice for aspiring enlistees?
Find a reason why you want to sign that contract. Find a reason why you want to give everything you have for your fellow Americans. Find a reason why you want to go above and beyond so your family can sleep peacefully at night.