After a decade of active duty in the U.S. Air Force, Sgt. Maryam Baker, the non-commissioned officer in charge of Knowledge Operations Management for the University’s Air Force ROTC, is being promoted to the role of technical sergeant.

Baker will be honored in a ceremony at 9 a.m. this morning in the Vandenberg Room of the Michigan League.

Baker said she recognizes that technical sergeant is one of the most difficult levels of rank to achieve in the Air Force, adding that she knows the importance of the promotion.

“With more rank there is always more responsibility,” she said. “Any time you move up in rank, you’re expected to do bigger and better things.”

Major Jonathan Liscombe, operations flight commander for the University’s chapter of the AROTC, is Baker’s supervisor. He said many factors contribute to a promotion, such as time in the service, awards, decorations and written tests to evaluate officers’ skills and knowledge of the Air Force.

Baker was born and raised in Charleston, S.C, which is where she was stationed when she began her career. She said she was interested in serving her country since she was a young woman.

“Being in the military is something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was younger,” Baker said.

Baker has had numerous promotions since she enlisted in April 2001. In August 2002, she was promoted to airman first class and then to senior airman in October 2003. She was promoted to her current title of staff sergeant in February 2006.

Baker was assigned to work at the University in January 2009. Her current role is to manage the majority of the administrative work, including academic records, tuition and government funding for the more than 90 cadets in the Air Force ROTC program.

“Dealing with the 90-plus cadets can be overwhelming,” Liscombe said of Baker. “She has a professionalism that is unmatched.”

Baker said she enjoys working with students in the ROTC program because they are the future of the military.

“I love to work with cadets,” she said. “Even though it is a learning environment for them, I learn a lot from them as well.”

Cadet David Spendel, an Engineering senior, is the Public Affairs Officer for the Detachment 390 and has worked a great deal with Baker. He wrote in an e-mail interview that Baker expects strong commitment from her cadets.

“She has high expectations for us and is not afraid to let us know when we don’t meet those expectations,” he wrote. “However, she will work as hard as she can as long as you will give her the same work.”

Liscombe said Baker’s duties at the University will not change much with this promotion. However, he said it will affect her next assignment in the Air Force.

“That will most likely include supervising other airmen and having a more important mentorship role towards lower ranking airmen in whatever unit she is assigned to,” he said.

Liscombe said he is proud of Baker’s accomplishment because she has proven herself as a qualified officer.

“She has an exceptional drive to accomplish taskings and accomplish her job overall,” he said. “This is definitely a well-deserved promotion.”

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