Friends use words such as bravery, courage, respect, service, honor, and leadership to describe U.S. Army Maj. Michael Baka (middle of photo), a member of the Rush-Henrietta Class of 1994. Baka, an honors graduate of West Point Military Academy, is a respected commanding officer who was responsible for nearly 200 soldiers on the streets of Baghdad, Iraq. Today, he serves as the Special Assistant for Honor at The Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic at West Point.
While serving overseas, Maj. Baka was stationed with Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment based in Schweinfurt, Germany. His work as a commanding officer has been profiled in publications such as Stars and Stripes.
Described by friends as selfless and humble, Maj. Baka often chooses to speak about his soldiers’ accomplishments, rather than his own. Despite his humility, Maj. Baka has been awarded the Bronze Star with Valor while serving his country. His sense of compassion is second to none. "He has held the hands of his dying soldiers, demonstrating care and compassion beyond many experiences I have witnessed during my medical training," says John Gibbs, D.O., who nominated Maj. Baka for this recognition.
Maj. Baka and his wife, Cathy, have three children.