On completing his studies at Parade College East Melbourne in 1953, John Baker entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon.
On graduation in 1957, he was allotted to the Royal Australian Engineers and later completed a degree in civil engineering at the University of Melbourne.
John’s ﬁrst regimental posting was a one-year appointment in Papua New Guinea, followed by 12 months in hawali as an exchage officer.
In 1970-1971, John was attached to the 1st Australlian Civil Affairs Unit during the Vietnam War, where he was Mentioned in Despatches. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1971, Colonel in 1979, Brigadier in 1982, Major General in 1987, Lieutenant General in 1992 and General in 1995.
In 1987, the then Chief of the Defence Force General Peter Gration tasked the then Brigadier Baker to conduct a study of the existing ADF command arrangements in order to recommend further development to meet likely requirements into the 21st century for both low and high levels of operations.
The ﬁnal report, commonly referred to as “The Baker Report”, was published in March 1988 and remains the seminal work on command and control in the ADF.
General Baker’s career culminated with his appointment as Chief of the Defence Force from 1995 to 1998, the most senior position in the Australian Defence Force.
Peer Year 1953