March 19, 2020
Died during a training swim in Panama City.
January 14, 1996 – March 19, 2020
Keigan J. Baker was born January 14, 1996 in Longview Washington, to Jason Baker and Renee Ramey (Johnson). From early on, Keigan was very active in local sports including soccer, baseball, Kung Fu, wrestling, track, basketball and football. Besides excelling at school, his passion during high school was playing at Mark Morris where he earned 1st team all-league defense his senior year. Keigan graduated from Mark Morris in 2014. After high school, Keigan went on to Eastern Washington University where he earned his BS in Business Management. During his time at EWU, Keigan also participated in the ROTC program.
Keigan enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in June 2018 and was named an honor graduate upon completion of basic training. After BMT, he secured a spot in the Air Force’s two-year combat control program, an exclusive and highly-selective program very few achieve. Special Tactics combat controllers are widely renowned for combat reconnaissance, coordinating precision strikes and conducting personnel recovery operations.
In December 2019, Keigan achieved Airman 1st Class (A1C) and received his coveted scarlet beret as a Special Tactics Combat Controller. Keigan was assigned to the Special Tactics Training Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing out of Hurlburt Field, Florida.
Keigan’s military awards include the National Defense Ribbon, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, the Air Force Basic Military Training Honor Graduate Ribbon, the Air Force Training Ribbon, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Metal.
In addition to serving his country, Keigan was an active member of his community, loved his family dearly and found great joy in his friendships. Keigan loved being outdoors and lived life to the fullest. He was passionate about helping people succeed and always ready to help mentor or assist others. His kindheartedness had no limits and his smile and laughter would brighten any room.
Keigan is survived by his mother Renee Ramey, father Jason Baker, brother Masen Baker, step-parents Brad Ramey and Jaime Baker, step-siblings Lauren, Tyler, Kade and Presley Ramey, grandparents Doug & Connie Johnson, Debbie & Robert Jump, Melvin & Barb Baker and Allen & Kathy Huffman, along with many uncles, aunts and cousins
In honor of Keigan, his brother Masen has started a not-for-profit to honor his legacy and carry forward his passion. The Keigan Baker Memorial Fund will focus on the education, mentoring and training of young individuals focused on a career in the U.S. Air Force Special Operations. In addition, his family will be creating an annual football scholarship in support of Mark Morris High School. All Donations in honor of Keigan can be made through Go Fund Me, Keigan Baker Memorial Fund (https//www.gofundme.com/f/keigan-baker-memorial ).
A full military send off at Willamette National Cemetery followed by a Celebration of Life will take place once our current environment allows. More details regarding both events will be shared once finalized.
Suporting the family during attended cremation, click photo below:
May 9, 2020
|from the Stars and Stripes stripes.com 03/23/20
Airman from Washington state dies in Florida training accident
By ROSE L. THAYER | STARS AND STRIPES
Published: March 23, 2020
A 24-year-old Air Force special tactics combat controller from Washington state was found dead Thursday after he went missing during a training swim at a Navy base in Panama City, Fla., service officials said.
Airman 1st Class Keigan Baker, a native of Longview, Wash., was participating in a combat dive course conducted by Air Education and Training Command’s Special Warfare Training Wing at Naval Support Activity Panama City, according to a news release. He was assigned to the Special Tactics Training Squadron of the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla. The incident remains under investigation.
Baker went missing at about 11:05 a.m. and he was found about five hours later, according to a news release issued by Hurlburt Field.
“This is a devastating loss to the entire special tactics community,” Air Force Col. Matthew Allen, commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing, said in a statement. “We are very grateful for Keigan’s willingness to serve our nation and vow to honor his memory.”
Baker enlisted in the Air Force in June 2018 and he was recognized as an honor graduate at basic military training. He immediately entered the two-year combat control training program to begin training to deploy into combat zones to conduct reconnaissance, global access, precision strikes and personnel recovery operations.
Shortly after being assigned to the Special Tactics Training Squadron, he left to attend a pre-dive course at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Air Force Base in Texas before traveling to Panama City for the combat dive training.
The Air Force combat dive course teaches students diving fundamentals including scuba training. Students learn basic diving, advanced rescue diving principles and advanced combat diving fundamentals. Upon completion of the course, students are certified Special Operations Command combatant divers.
The agencies that contributed to the search and recovery efforts for Baker include the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center, Coast Guard Station Panama City, Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other service dive units, according to the news release.
“Keigan’s loss is felt across the entire training wing, where the safety of our trainees is our top priority,” Air Force Col. Parks Hughes, commander of the Special Warfare Training Wing, said in a statement. “We are grateful to all the agencies that assisted with the search and recovery effort. Our thoughts and prayers are with Keigan’s family, friends and teammates.”
Before joining the Air Force, Baker graduated from Mark Morris High School in Longview and received a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Eastern Washington University in Cheney, according to the release.
His Air Force awards and decorations include the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Air Force Basic Military Training Honor Graduate Ribbon, the Air Force Training Ribbon and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
A Go Fund Me page created in Baker’s honor has raised more than $15,000. His family is working to create a nonprofit in his memory that is focused on mentorship of young people considering a career in Air Force special operations.
The Panama City base employs more than 4,000 civilian and military personnel and houses units working in research and development, testing and evaluation and Navy diving.
|From Air Force Magazone airforcemag.com 03/20/20
Hurlburt Combat Controller Dies During Training Swim
March 20, 2020 | By Brian W. Everstine
A special tactics combat controller from the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., died March 19 during a training swim in Panama City.
The Airman has been identified as A1C Keigan Baker, 24, of Longview, Washington. Baker enlisted in the Air Force in 2018, and was in training as a Special Tactics combat controller apprentice.
“Keigan’s loss is felt across the entire training wing, where the safety of our trainees is our top priority,” Col. Parks Hughes, commander of the Special Warfare Training Wing, said in a release. “We are grateful to all the agencies that assisted with the search and recovery effort. Our thoughts and prayers are with Keigan’s family, friends and teammates.”
Baker was taking part in an Air Force Combat Dive Course at Naval Support Activity Panama City when he went missing at about 11:05 a.m. Multiple search and rescue agencies, including the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center, U.S. Coast Guard Station Panama City, and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office searched the area.
He was found unresponsive at around 4:30 p.m., according to a Hurlburt release. The Air Force is investigating the incident, and no additional details are available.
This is the third fatal training incident involving the wing in the past six months. On Nov. 5, Staff Sergeant Cole Condiff, a combat controller with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, died after falling from a C-130 during parachute training in the Gulf of Mexico near Hurlburt. In November 2019, Tech Sgt. Peter Kraines, a pararescueman with the 24th SOW, died from injuries sustained while performing mountain rescue techniques in Boise, Idaho.
The Air Force briefly paused parachute, mountaineering, and dive training following those deaths, so Air Force Special Operations Command could review its regulations, as well as equipment and procedures used during training.
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