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Pilot dies in plane crash in Arkanas
A 25-year-old Hardy County helicopter pilot and veteran of Vietnam fighting who had only a week to go for his discharge from the Army was found dead in the wreckage of a light military plane north of Waktron, Ark., Sunday.
He was Capt. Ralph W. Baker of Rockoak, near Baker. Also found dead in the plane was First Lt. Joel Craft of Springfield, VA.
A third occupant, First Lt. Roger Elissagaray, Tracy, Calif., was found alive.
According to the United Press International, the three men were on route from Mississippi to Oklahoma when the plane crashed in the area north of Waldron on Friday. The wreckage was not located until Sunday.
Capt. Baker was the son of Robert L. and Marie (Ban) Baker of Rockoak. His only other survivor is a brother, Frank Baker, Petersburg.
A graduate of Moorefield High School and Potomac State College, he received a bachelor of science degree in business administration from West Virginia University in January 1966.
Commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from W.V.U., he joined the Army in May 1966. After service at verious posts in the United States, where he was trained as a heliocpter pilot, he was sent to Vietnam in October 1967 to serve with the 150th Aviation Company.
He was promoted to captain while there and returned to the states in October 1968. During his service there, he was personal pilot for a number of leading Army generals.
Capt. Baker was to have been discharged next Monday at Camp Rucker, Ala.
This information was last updated 05/18/2016
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Date posted on this site: 01/08/2023
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