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150th SOW News

Spotlight Airman of the Month: Senior Airman Michael Baca

  • Published
  • By Public Affairs
  • 150th Special Operations Wing

Senior Airman Michael Baca grew up on the family farm in Los Chavez, N.M. After graduating high school, his options were limited.

“Growing up in a farm town, you only have a couple options: either stay on the farm and work, go to school—I didn’t have the best grades—join the police force, or join the military, and the Army said, ‘Nope, you’re coming with us.’”

Once in the Army Baca became a cavalry scout. After four-and-a-half years, including two deployments, he left the military and went to school for massage therapy, earning an associate degree. “One of the smartest things I’ve ever done, because a lot of people that I’ve actually worked with were Vets and that actually helped a lot when it came to PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder),” Baca said.

Baca still had a nagging feeling that he was not quite done with the military and enlisted in the Army Reserve, where he joined a Sapper combat engineer unit for three years. During that time, he went back to school, this time earning an associate degree in Culinary Arts and then went on to become a pastry chef.

He put his pastry chef skills to work at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., for two years until a family health scare brought him back to New Mexico. “Right after that I started getting the nagging feeling again. I didn’t feel like I was done with the military,” he said.

This time it came from a fellow member of the 250th IS, Master Sgt. Marcus Pillars. Pillars, Baca’s best friend from high school, kept nagging him about not being in the military.

Baca retook the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, joined the New Mexico Air National Guard, and has been with the unit for a little over a year. He still has goals to go back to school and earn a bachelor’s degree, as well as continue his career with the NMANG, and eventually retire from the Air Force.

He also plans on taking more responsibilities on the family farm as his grandfather, father and uncle get older. “Either somebody takes over for them or we sell the farm,” he said, “which I don’t want to do.”