A former trader,
Rod Levy founded
Code Platoon to
launch new careers.
She chose to become a cryptologic technician. The specifics of
the job were classified, even to her, but she’d loved computers
since she was a girl, and she knew the job was technical.
Baker liked the structure of the navy, the skills and the acro-
nyms and the teamwork. At the end of basic training, recruits
participate in a final exercise called Battle Stations- 21, where
they must complete difficult tasks—everything from moor-
ing a ship to firefighting to “rescuing” heavy dummy dolls
out of smoky rooms—in a chaotic environment, on no sleep.
After her training, the navy deployed Baker to an air base in
Misawa, Japan, where her team collected and processed inter-
cepted electronic and radio transmissions. Within a year she
was instructing the new arrivals on her team, many of whom
outranked her. The department head, seeing her potential,
encouraged her to apply to the Naval Academy in Annapolis,
Maryland. She was accepted in 2013, one of fewer than 100
enlisted sailors admitted to a class of about 1,200. At the acad-
emy, Baker formed close friendships with other prior enlistees
and attracted the attention of a mentor, Janie Mines, a former
navy officer who also happens to be the first African-American