Petty Officer 2nd Class Kayla Baker, a native of Moberly, serves with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 71, operating out of San Diego, California. The squadron’s primary mission is to conduct sea control operations in open-ocean and coastal environments. This includes hunting for submarines, searching for surface targets over the horizon and conducting search and rescue operations.
Baker, a 2015 Moberly High School graduate and 2017 graduate of Moberly Area Community College, joined the Navy five years ago.
“I joined the Navy to further my education and to travel,” said Baker.
Skills and values learned in the Navy are similar to those found in Moberly.
“My hometown taught me the importance of community,” said Baker. “Being personable has helped shape who I am in the military and has allowed me to meet some great people.”
Today, Baker serves with the helicopter squadron that flies the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. The MH-60R is a twin-engine helicopter used for anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, drug interdiction, anti-ship warfare, cargo lift, and special operations.
This year commemorates 50 years of women flying in the U.S. Navy. In 1973, the first eight women began flight school in Pensacola; one year later six of them, known as “The First Six,” earned their “Wings of Gold.” Over the past 50 years, the Navy has expanded its roles for women to lead and serve globally and today our women aviators project power from the sea in every type of Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aircraft. Our Nation and our Navy is stronger because of their service.
With 90 percent of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.
“Our mission remains timeless – to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every single level,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy.”
As a member of the Navy, Baker is part of a world-class organization focused on maintaining maritime dominance, strengthening partnerships, increasing competitive warfighting capabilities and sustaining combat-ready forces in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The Navy helps give peace of mind to the American people because of our forward presence that deters adversaries,” said Baker. “We are looked at in times of crisis. The U.S. Navy is a force to be reckoned with.”
Baker has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.
“My proudest Navy accomplishment is being recognized for my hard work with a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal,” said Baker. “It was in recognition of my hard work being a supervisor over a shift during deployment. It was nice to know the hard work I put in was being appreciated and recognized.”
As Baker and other sailors continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy means stability and hope,” said Baker. “It helped provide me with better opportunities for the future. The Navy has opened up a lot of doors that I would not have even thought were possible if I didn’t join.”
Baker is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.
“I would like to thank my parents,” said Baker. “Without their support and my family’s support, I wouldn’t be able to continue serving the way I am. Having a strong foundation back home allows me to focus on what I am doing here and not worry about what is happening there.”