HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. – An Air Force Special Tactics combat controller in training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland has died after he was found unresponsive during a training swim in Panama City, Florida on Thursday.
Airman First Class Keigan Baker, 24, was assigned to the Special Tactics Training Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing and was taking part in the Air Force Combat Dive Course run by Air Education and Training Command’s Special Warfare Training Wing headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
“This is a devastating loss to the entire Special Tactics community,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Allen, commander of the 24th SOW. “We are very grateful for Keigan’s willingness to serve our nation and vow to honor his memory.”
As a Special Tactics combat controller apprentice, Baker was training to deploy into combat zones to conduct reconnaissance, global access, precision strike and personnel recovery operations.
“Keigan’s loss is felt across the entire training wing, where the safety of our trainees is our top priority,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Parks Hughes, commander of the Special Warfare Training Wing. “We are grateful to all the agencies that assisted with the search and recovery effort. Our thoughts and prayers are with Keigan’s family, friends and teammates.”
Baker enlisted in the United States Air Force in June 2018 and was recognized as an Honor Graduate at Basic Military Training. After BMT, he immediately entered the two-year combat control training program. Shortly after being assigned to STTS he left to attend the Special Warfare Pre-Dive course at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, followed by the Air Force Combat Dive Course at Naval Support Activity Panama City, Florida.
The Longview, Washington native received his Bachelors of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Eastern Washington University.
His awards and decorations include: Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Air Force Basic Military Training Honor Graduate Ribbon, The Air Force Training Ribbon and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
The incident is currently under investigation.