Respect. That is what Dean Baubach carried with him after his military service. A greater appreciation for our country, respect for our flag, and respect for the men and women who are willing to give up everything to defend our country.
Dean Baubach was born and raised in Chattanooga, TN, in 1944 as the middle child of three boys. While in junior high, he played basketball and played the trumpet. Baubach stated with a laugh, “I would’ve loved to continue playing basketball, but I realized I just wasn’t tall enough.” He went on to say, “I was in the marching band, and I also wanted to be in jazz band, but I lacked rhythm, and it just wasn’t my cup of tea.” Buabach was an ROTC member throughout high school and remembered what a good experience it was. After graduating high school, he went to the University of Tennessee before transferring to the University of Chattanooga. Then, at the urging of a friend, he decided to attend law school in Atlanta. Baubach confessed he developed an interest in the law from watching Perry Mason episodes years ago.
At 24 years old, after graduating from law school and before taking the bar exam, Baubach was married and had been working for a large insurance company in Atlanta when he was drafted by the United States Navy. He was offered to attend the Navy JAG Corps, which supports military personnel and their families by providing legal assistance services. But as a married man, Baubach didn’t want to commit seven years to the program to complete it, so he decided against it.
Baubach was sent to the Navy’s only boot camp, Naval Station Great Lakes (NSGL), which consisted of ten weeks of training on the western shore of Lake Michigan. It was founded in 1911 and is located near North Chicago in Lake County, Illinois. After boot camp, Baubach was flown to Naples, Italy, where he was stationed on the USS Sylvania. The USS Sylvania was a supply ship that the Navy used to stow supplies and other goods carried to support naval units and combat operations off the coast.
While Baubach was stationed in Italy, his job was to do the bookkeeping for the stores on the USS Sylvania. Naval ships have often been described as floating cities, including stores and a barbershop. The barbershop was special to Baubach and a fun place to visit on the ship. Baubach explained there were three stores aboard the ship, and while working as the bookkeeper, he was also able to order things for the crew at great prices. Baubach expressed, “I had a good time and made a lot of really good friends, really good friends.” He went on to say that “I never did get sent to Vietnam although I had friends that got orders on the ship to go, but I never got them and was fortunate in that respect.” Baubach spent about two years on the USS Sylvania in Italy and said he went into almost every port in the Mediterranean. He also recalled he was lucky enough to go into the different areas and tour each. He recalled taking a train into Rome and spending some time there, which he really enjoyed. He even moved his wife to a small apartment in Naples to be close to her when his ship was in port. When the ship would come back to port, it was a short bus ride to see his wife, and their apartment was conveniently located within walking distance of stores. During his time on the Sylvania, he remembered two occasions when helicopters crashed at sea when they resupplied other ships but never lost a life.
After leaving Naples, Baubach was stationed aboard the USS Vulcan, a repair ship for the Navy, in port at Norfolk, VA. The young couple had a son, and he even spent his first Thanksgiving dinner aboard the USS Vulcan. Baubach ended his Navy career as an E-4 Petty Officer Third Class or PO3 in 1972.
Once Baubach was honorably discharged, the couple moved to Chattanooga, TN. He took a job with the Chattanooga Federal Savings and Loan, where he worked for about ten years before accepting a career in the investment business. Their son was involved in different sports growing up, and the family enjoyed visiting the Smokey Mountains when they could. Baubach stated, “I had a good experience working in investments and was able to travel many places and meet a lot of nice people.”
During his time in the military, there was a camaraderie that Baubach had never experienced before. Baubach explained, “It didn’t matter where you came from. Regardless of color or background, everyone was there for each other. And that is what carried over for me once I was out of the military.” He went on to say, “Being in the military was such a great experience for me. It really helped me with learning discipline and what you need to do and how you need to plan, and those things really carried over with me after leaving the military.”
Baubach talked about how the service just made him want to do the right thing. He remarked, “I followed through with what Uncle Sam wanted me to do. The respect that I have gained from being in the service, just total respect for America, our flag, and the service, no matter what branch of the military you were in. I just really want to say go America, go military, go Navy, go Veterans, and Veterans Care Coordination!”
Veterans Care Coordination is proud to recognize Dean Baubach for his service to our country. We are privileged to have the opportunity to share the stories of our nation’s heroes. Thank you for your service, Dean and welcome home.