Meet CCK’s Kerry Baker! Kerry handles veterans’ cases before the VA and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (the Court) and is a leader in the field of toxic military exposures, like Agent Orange, burn pits, and Gulf War Illness.
From high school, straight to the Marines
Kerry grew up in Princeton, Kentucky. After graduating from high school in 1987, Kerry immediately enlisted in the Marines. In the Marines, Kerry was a helicopter crew chief, working on CH46 helicopters. As crew chief, Kerry was responsible for everything but flying the helicopter – maintenance of the aircraft, the flight test, and mission-related duties.
Kerry was stationed all over the world, with home bases on the West Coast, East Coast, and later in Japan. He spent much of his time in service deployed. Kerry served in the Persian Gulf War, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Somalia, and Panama. With a little prompting from Robert, Kerry even remembers evacuating one of the Hepburn sisters from Somalia.
From the Marines to Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
After his discharge in 1998, Kerry wasn’t sure what he wanted to do until he had a chance encounter while seeking services from Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a veterans’ service organization (VSO). The service officer helping Kerry at the DAV turned out to have been medivac-ed from a combat zone by Kerry and his helicopter crew during the Persian Gulf War!
After talking with the man, it was immediately clear to Kerry what he wanted to do. He wanted to help veterans, too. So he applied to work at DAV. After being accepted, Kerry went to school at the DAV training academy at the University of Colorado. “And it’s been nonstop since,” says Kerry.
Kerry worked for the DAV for 11 years, at their offices in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Milwaukee. Later, he worked out of DC as a member of DAV’s appeals team, representing veterans at the Court. He ended his time at DAV as the Assistant National Legislative Director.
From DAV to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
At the VA, Kerry worked as the Chief Legislative and Policy Staff at the Central Office for Compensation Services. Kerry and his staff drove most of the policy evolution for VA compensation claims, creating and evaluating policies on a variety of issues, including Agent Orange. Kerry’s staff also handled all legislation related to the VA disability compensation system, writing up legislative proposals for the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA’s) and responding to legislation from Congress.
From the VA to CCK
After working for the VA, Kerry Baker joined Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick (CCK). He’s been with us for about five years now. He handles cases at all levels (working with Regional Offices, the Board of Veterans Appeals, and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims).
While he fills many roles at CCK, Kerry Baker is a nationally recognized expert in cases related to in-service toxic exposures (like Agent Orange, burn pits, Gulf War Illness, Camp Lejeune, and more), which can often be complicated and difficult to prove. He also shares his knowledge with the firm, educating attorneys and paralegals about the nuances of exposure claims and the associated laws and policies.
RELATED READ: Rep. Mike Coffman, with the help of Kerry Baker and a doctor who specializes in burn pit-related illnesses, sent a Congressional Inquiry to the Department of Veterans Affairs to ask for better treatment and compensation of veterans exposed to burn pits.