Maj. Craig Baker is the United States Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team Commander and Pilot based at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. As the F-16 Viper Demonstration Team Commander, he is responsible for representing Air Combat Command, United States Air Force, Department of Defense, and the United States of America at more than 15 air shows annually. He leads the 15-member F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, oversees maintenance actions performed on the Lockheed Martin $43M demo aircraft, and showcases the Viper's exceptional maneuverability for more than 10 million spectators around the world each year. He is an operational F-16 instructor pilot assigned to the 20th Operations Group, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina.
Major Baker was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He attended South View High School in Hope Mills, North Carolina, graduating in 2001. After high school, he attended the United States Air Force Academy graduating in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and earning his commission. Maj Baker was assigned to pilot training at Columbus AFB, Mississippi where he earned his wings. Maj Baker then attended Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals training at Moody AFB, GA en route to the F-16 Formal Training Unit at Springfield ANGB, Ohio. Upon graduation, he was then assigned to the 555 FS at Aviano AB, Italy, for three years as an operational F-16 pilot and flight lead. In 2011 Major Baker was assigned to the 607 Air Support Operation Group at Osan AB, Republic of Korea as an Air Liaison Officer and Flight Commander.
In 2013, Major Baker was assigned to the 79 FS at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, where he upgraded to instructor pilot and served as a Flight Commander. While assigned to the 79 FS he was selected to be the Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Pilot. He is a seasoned fighter pilot with over 1,400 fighter hours in the F-16.
2001 South View High School, N.C.
2005 Bachelor of Science Civil Engineering, United States Air Force Academy
2005 Air and Space Basic Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2012 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2013 Masters of Art Christian Ministries, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary
1. August 2005 - April 2007, Student, Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training 14 FTW Columbus AFB, Miss.
2. April 2007 - March 2008, Student, F-16 Basic Course 162 FS Springfield ANGB, Ohio
3. March 2008 - December 2011, Training Officer/Scheduling Officer/F-16 Flight Lead, 555 FS Aviano AB, Italy
4. December 2011 - March 2013, Air Liaison Officer/Flight Commander, 607 ASOG Osan AB, Republic of Korea
5. March 2013 - June 2013, Student, F-16 Transition Course, 182 FS, Lackland AFB, Texas
6. June 2013 - December 2014, Flight Commander/F-16 IP, 79 FS Shaw AFB, S.C.
7. December 2014 - present, F-16 Demo Team Commander/F-16 IP, 20 OG Shaw AFB, S.C.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Achievement Medal
AF Outstanding Unit Award with four oak leaf clusters
Combat Readiness Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korean Defense Service Medal
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal
Air Force Overseas Ribbon Short
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with gold border and one oak leaf cluster
AF Longevity Service with two oak leaf clusters
AF Training Ribbon
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant June 1, 2005
First Lieutenant June 1, 2007
Captain June 1, 2009
Major Oct. 1, 2015
(Current as of February 2015)