Darien, Ill. - Matthew Baker a 31-year Army soldier was promoted June 3 to brigadier general joining a very distinguished group.
Baker joined the army in 1986, after much persuasion from his father, a Vietnam veteran, and graduated Officer Candidate School at just 19 years of age.
He began his career with the 416th Theater Engineer Command in 2000 as a young captain. Since then he has been nothing less than an integral part of the 416th team. In 2014, under the command of Major General Lewis J. Irwin, he accepted the role of chief of staff.
Baker made it clear that his family was the key to his success. "A soldier is only as strong as his core structure." He expressed during an interview that his family is the reason he has made it so far.
Proof of the devotion of his support structure was evident. With only days' notice of his promotion, his immediate family, and numerous other friends and colleagues, pulled through and made it to his promotion ceremony.
His children Courtney and Brittany Simmon, Brandon and Nikki Baker, along with his wife, Debbie Baker, were present during the ceremony. They presented Baker with his general officer flag, general officer belt and his general officer pistol. Debbie and Nikki pinned the star on his hat and chest.
Baker gave credit to the soldiers that he has worked with, under and above. He attributes his success to the strengths of his soldiers and capitalizes on those assets.
Baker believes and ensures that if his soldiers are taken care of, he will be taken care of, "I think the key to being a strong leader is utilizing the people that you have around you."
With Baker's new position as deputy commanding general of support, he expects challenges as he avoids getting comfortable within his position. Most importantly he is expecting to gain more knowledge and experience. He ensures that he will be moving forward with his family and soldiers as his base.