BROWN MILLS, NJ, U.S.A.
SPC, CO A, 4TH BN, 101ST AVIATION REG, 101st AIRBORNE, FORT CAMPBELL, KY
11/15/2003. MOSUL, IRAQ
SPC Baker graduated from Pemberton High School in 1997 and enlisted in the Army. Following basic training at Fort Jackson, SC, Ryan was assigned to the 101ST Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, KY.
Ryan was a helicopter mechanic and gunner. His parting words to his family following bereavement leave were simply: “Don’t worry.” “He thought he was invincible. He was fearless,” according to his uncle, Michael Ewing.
Ryan was eager to return to his unit, based in northern Iraq. He last contacted his family leaving a message to his mother on her home answering machine, explaining that he was “going to be back in action.” He signed off saying do not worry. In Iraq, Baker maintained the helicopters of the 101st Airborne Division that were used to transport troops from flash point to flash point. Baker prided himself on his knowledge of the Black Hawk helicopter, and emphasized the importance of his unit’s mission. When airborne in one of the helicopters, Baker manned a machine gun mounted at the aircraft door. From this position on the helicopter Ryan got a bird’s-eye view of some of the war’s heaviest fighting. He told his uncle: “War is an ugly business, it’s not what you see on TV.”
SPC Baker leaves behind family and friends and his young son, Tristan.