Captain Donald W. Baird
8 May 1987 - 8 July 1988
Retired with the rank of Rear Admiral
Captain Don W. Baird was born in Washington, PA on 14 April 1940. After attending San Jose College, he entered the U.S. Navy as a Naval Aviation Cadet in April 1961, completing flight training in September 1962 at Corpus Christi, TX. Captain Baird was ordered to NAS Moffett Field, CA, for his first tour of duty with VR-57 flying C-121 and C-130 aircraft. Electing to serve a split sea tour, he reported to NAS North Island, CA for transition to carrier aviation and a tour with VS-38, a USS Bennington (CVS-20) based S-2E squadron. In November 1967, Captain Baird reported to the S-2E Fleet Replacement Squadron, VS-41, as an instructor pilot. He was then ordered to the Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, CA, in December 1968. After receiving a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations in December 1970, Captain Baird returned to NAS North Island for duty with VS-21 and deployment to the Western Pacific in USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14).
Captain Baird then attended the Naval War College Command and Staff Course at Newport, RI. Upon graduation in July 1974, he was assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel where he served as an aviation assignment officer until March 1977. After completion of jet transition training and the S-3A Fleet Replacement Squadron in December 1977, Captain Baird was assigned to VS-38 as Executive Officer and deployed to the Western Pacific/Indian Ocean with CVW-14 in USS Enterprise (CVN-65). He assumed command in January 1979 and after joining CVW-9 and USS Constellation (CV-64), deployed once again to the Western Pacific/Indian Ocean. Captain Baird was ordered next to the staff of Commander, Anti-Submarine Warfare Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet, where he served as the S-3A Readiness and Training Officer until September 1981.
From October 1981 to March 1982, Captain Baird attended numerous training courses in preparation for assuming command of CVW-2 aboard USS Ranger (CV-61) and served in that capacity from April, 1982 until July, 1983. In August 1983, Captain Baird reported to Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and assumed the duties of Air Training Officer. After extensive pipeline training he assumed command of USS New Orleans (LPH-11) in April, 1985 and deployed to the Western Pacific. In September, 1986, he reported once again to Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and assumed the duties of Force Readiness Officer.
On 8 May 1987 he assumed command of USS Ranger (CV-61) and deployed to the Western Pacific and Northern Arabian Sea from July to December 1987.
Captain Baird is married to the former Nancy Gail Owens of Lubbock, TX. They have a daughter, Lynn, and a son, Scott.