97-year-old Virginia Beach woman becoming an Honorary Green Beret

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Virginia Beach, Va. - What does it take to be a Green Beret?

Just ask a 97-year-old woman in Virginia Beach.

Doris Baker has had quite a life.

Throughout her life she made a huge impact as an educator, leader, author, and photographer. On Wednesday, the Atlantic Shores resident made history by becoming an honorary Green Beret - the first employee ever to have been given an honorary membership in the regiment.

The ceremony took place at her retirement community hall with full military honors. Her nomination states she served the Department of Defense with great distinction and dedication as a teacher and administrator.

She taught the children of the 10th Special Forces group, first as a teacher and later as principal.

She was in Germany following World War II -- teaching the children where the Green Berets' families were assigned.

"I stayed in 25 different spots, around every time someone would come in they would move us teachers around to fit. It might even be in a little village somewhere, outside of town and we did whatever we had to do, and they liked us and we liked them."

Eventually they built a school for special forces children in Bad Tolz, near one of the largest SS training camps.

"The parents were as close to me as the Green Berets were. We talked to each other about anything and everything," Baker says.

The Army eventually asked Baker to run the school as a principal. The relationship she built over the years ended up on the pages of a book she authored titled "The Originals." Reportedly, it's the only book about the Green Berets ever written by a woman.

Baker returned to the United States in 1980 and left behind a school that had swelled to a population of 600 pupils. Some call it the house that Baker built. She is more modest and leaves it to others to do her bragging for her.

Baker's photo collection is on display at the Swem Library at the College of William and Mary, entitled, "Viewing the World - Travel Photography through Doris Baker's lens."

1 Comment

  • F. Richard Hayse

    Thank you for your news piece on Ms Baker (as we referred to her). I was a Special Forces NCO stationed in Bad Tolz, a former SS Officer’s School during WW2, in 1976-1978, and Ms Baker was the BTES Principal for my son who attended K-2 during that time. Anyone who had children at BTES knew Ms Baker well as she made it a point to really “know” both her students and their families, and the greater local German community as well. I am especially glad to see her receive such a well-earned recognition from the Special Forces community.

    I have a copy of Ms Baker’s book but she is not the only woman to write about Special Forces – Linda Robinson’s “Masters of Chaos” is another and is an excellent read.

    F. Richard Hayse
    Major (Retired), Special Forces
    Sacramento, CA

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