Warren P. Baker, Marine Corps colonel, dies at 96

Warren P. Baker, a retired Marine Corps colonel and White House military aide who became legislative affairs director for the Navy League of the United States, died Aug. 8 at Halquist Memorial Hospice House in Arlington. He was 96.

The cause was complications from pneumonia, said a daughter, Jane Baker Paliokas. He lived in Falls Church.

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Col. Baker served in the Marine Corps from 1939 to 1965 and participated in the Guadalcanal campaign during World War II. His ship, the cruiser Quincy, was sunk by Japanese forces in August 1942 during the Battle of Savo Island. After spending hours clinging to a makeshift life raft in shark-infested waters, he was rescued by an American destroyer.

Starting in 1951, Col. Baker spent three years as a senior military White House aide, first to President Harry S. Truman and then to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. His subsequent assignments included battalion commander in South Korea and service in London on the staff of the commander in chief of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe.

From 1967 to 1970, he worked at NASA as an assistant to the associate director for manned spaceflight. He was at the Navy League from 1978 to 1986.

Warren Paine Baker was a Boston native and a 1939 graduate of Norwich University in Vermont. He was 1962 graduate of the Naval War College.

At George Washington University, he received a master’s degree in international affairs in 1967 and a master’s degree in legislative affairs in 1977.

His military decorations included the Navy Commendation Medal.

His first marriage, to Marjorie K. Bassler, ended in divorce. His second wife, Dorothy Gee Baker, died in 2003 after 38 years of marriage.

Survivors include two sons from his first marriage, Warren P. Baker Jr. of Westport, Conn., and Robert E. Baker of Panama City; a daughter from his second marriage, Jane Baker Paliokas of Falls Church; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein