By ECBC Public AffairsJune 23, 2014
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (June 23, 2014) -- Edgewood Chemical Biological Center Associate Director Dr. James Baker became only the 16th American civilian to ever receive the German Gold Cross of Honour.
The award was presented by Dr. Alexander Grabowski, director of the CBRN Decontamination Directorate of German Federal Armed Forces Research Institute for Protection Technologies & NBC Protection in a ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground that included Baker's family, some longtime coworkers and friends.
Grabowski, who was once a visiting scientist at ECBC, has known Baker for many years and was pleased to present him with this award. "I am honored to know and work with Jim. He has the incredible ability to walk the line between friendship and professionalism," Grabowski said. "He made working at the Center a valuable experience for me and countless others."
The full name of the award Baker received is the Ehrenkreuz der Bundeswehr (Cross of Honour) and is presented for exemplary and meritorious service over 20 years. "I was very touched and honored to receive this award today," Baker said. "I have had the pleasure of seeing ECBC evolve and grow during my long career here and to be recognized as playing a role in that by one of our important foreign partners truly means a lot to me."
Baker began his federal service in 1969 when he began active duty as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps assigned to the Chemical Systems Laboratory (now ECBC) at Edgewood Arsenal. He transitioned from the military to civilian service at ECBC in 1971 and has remained here to this day. In his current role, Baker is active in the international chemical defense program as a technical project officer on multiple projects and other international forums.
"Throughout his long and productive career here at ECBC, Jim has led by example," said Joe Wienand, ECBC director. "He is dedicated, driven and a pleasure to work with. A significant part of our success today can be directly tied to the work that he has done on our behalf. I consider myself fortunate to have worked with him as a colleague and to be able to call him a friend."
During the brief ceremony, Baker thanked his friends and family for their support over the years. He attributed their support as the driving force that has steered him through his long a distinguished career.
The Edgewood Chemical Biological Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.