Robert Leon Baker was born on February 7, 1925, in Oak, Nebraska, son of Oscar E. and Ada Veru (Davis) Baker. He graduated from Mountain Home (Arkansas) High School and on February 6, 1943 enlisted in the US Naval Reserve. Under the V-1 Program, he attended Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas until July 1943, then as a V-12 student, transferred to the Louisiana Polytechnic Institute at Ruston, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1945. He served as a Laboratory Technician at the Naval Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida, from July until October 1945, then entered the University of Arkansas Medical School at Fayetteville, as a medical student. On December 22, 1945, he was released from active naval service.
He continued instruction at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine. While there, he was commissioned Ensign in the Hospital Corps of the US Naval Reserve. Graduated in 1949 with highest honors and grade average, he was transferred to the Medical Corps of the US Naval Reserve on June 4, that year and subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, to date from December 1, 1966, having transferred from the Naval Reserve to the US Navy on September 7, 1950. His selection for the rank of Rear Admiral was approved by the President on May 10, 1943.
Ordered to return to active naval service, he was assigned in July 1949 to the Tripler Army Hospital, Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, where he completed his internship in July 1950. He then reported as Medical Officer at the Naval Receiving Station Dispensary, Pearl Harbor, TH. From July 1951 to July 1954 he served his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Naval Hospital, Oakland, California and after completing his training remained there for duty on the Staff until June 1955. Following a tour of duty as Assistant Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Naval Hospital, Guam, Mariana, Islands, he transferred in December 1956 to similar duty at the Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, Illinois. Ordered to the Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, he was Assistant Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology during the period July 1959 to July 1961, then became Chief. In July 1965 he joined the Staff of the Naval Hospital, Naval Aerospace Medical Center, Pensacola, Florida, as Chief of Dependents Service and in July 1969 transferred to the Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia to serve as Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and cited in part as follows:
“For outstanding meritorious service…from July 6, 1969 to July 29, 1972. During this period, Captain Baker has proved himself to be not only a unique specialist and clinician, but also a creative teacher, an innovative organizer and a capable administrator…”
In July 1972 he reported as Deputy Director of the Naval Regional Medical Center, Illinois and Executive Officer and Director of Professional Service at the Naval Hospital, Great Lakes. He became Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology Service and Director of Graduate Training at the Naval Hospital, Oakland, California, in August 1973.
In addition to the Meritorious Service Medal, Rear Admiral Baker has the American Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal and the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star.
He was President of the University of Arkansas Scholastic Society, a member of Phi Chi Medical Fraternity and recipient of the Carl Bailey Award and Key for medical scholastic attainments. He is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a Diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
He died May 15, 2015.