Marshall E. Baker, Air Force colonel

August 30, 2013

Marshall E. Baker, an Air Force colonel who served at the U.S. Embassy in Paris in the 1950s and participated in planning efforts that included development of the F-111 fighter bomber, died July 31 at his home in Alexandria. He was 93.

He had congestive heart failure, said his daughter, Michele Bennett.

Col. Baker joined the Army Air Forces in December 1941 soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in a bomber unit in England during World War II. He later served with postwar occupation forces in Germany and held staff positions at air bases in the United States.

In the early 1950s, Col. Baker oversaw administration and finance for a military advisory group at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. He later served as research director at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, where he participated in Cold War policy analysis and the development of the F-111 Aardvark fighter-bomber.

In the 1960s, he was a research associate at Columbia University’s School of International Affairs, where his duties included consulting on arms sales. He later served in Japan, where he helped develop operational war plans. He was deployed to Korea after North Korean forces captured the USS Pueblo, a Navy research ship, in 1968.

Col. Baker was an adviser to Defense Secretary Melvin R. Laird at the Pentagon before his retirement from the Air Force in 1973. His military decorations included two awards of the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal.

Marshall Erbie Baker was born on a farm near Chandlerville, Ill. He was a graduate of the University of Maryland, from which he received a master’s degree in history in 1953. He received a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University in 1961.

Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Muriel Jokisch Baker of Alexandria; three children, David Baker of Greenfield, Mass., Michele Bennett of Troutville, Va., and Mark Baker of Manassas; six grandsons; and a great-granddaughter.

— Matt Schudel

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