Saluting Our Service Members: Military Spotlight

By The Major Brent Taylor Foundation

Joe Baca

By Ann Park

Joe Baca joined the US Army right out of high school. At the time, the Gulf War was going on, and he felt a strong desire to serve his country.

After eight initial years in active duty, he continued in the National Guard until retiring in October of 2016, after 25 years of service. Joe began his military service in air-defense artillery, but later went back to school to earn a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice. In 2008, Joe went to Officer Candidate School. A year later, he received his commission and became an MP.

During his time on active duty, Joe served in Germany and New York. After the World Trade Center bombing in 2001, he was deployed with the National Guard to the Middle East. He also served as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan during 2004 and 2005, working as a civilian police advisor and training the local Afghan national police.

During the years when Joe was serving in the National Guard, his civilian job was law enforcement. He worked as a police officer in southern New Mexico.

Joe continued his emphasis in military law enforcement. After receiving his commission in the army and becoming part of the Military Police, he began to work his way up. First, he became a platoon leader for an MP company, then executive officer, and finally, company commander. For Joe’s last two years in the National Guard, he served as Senior Platoon Trainer for Officer Candidate School.

At the same time, he was elected sheriff in his home town. He spent four years in office before retiring from law enforcement in 2014.

Joe also spent time as a JROTC instructor, and he worked for the Livestock Board as a livestock inspector.

In September of 2021, Joe married Kelly Noble, a Native-American Zuni Pueblo who is the tribal administrator for her tribe. During her school years, she was involved in a placement program. Originally from New Mexico, she graduated high school in Sandy, Utah, spent some time at BYU, and became the Cabinet Secretary of Indian Affairs for the State of New Mexico. They met when Kelly came to give a political speech. She was the event’s keynote speaker, and the minute Joe saw her, he knew he wanted to get to know her better.

Joe came to Utah to go to school, intending to live here temporarily. Instead, he eventually bought a house, and opened his own barber shop in Roy called, “Got Your 6”; in military and law enforcement, this means, “I’ve got your back.” Thanks for having our back, Joe, and we appreciate your many years of service.

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