AF vocalist mom sings at son’s graduation

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LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Arizona — Master Sgt. Anne Baker, soprano vocalist with the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants, sang the national anthem for her birth son’s pilot graduation May 20 at Luke Air Force Base.

1st Lt. John Lorbiecki was adopted shortly after birth by John and Patti Lorbiecki of Hubertus, Wisconsin. In 2007, at the age of 21, he initiated an Internet-based adoption search in hopes of finding his birth mother.

“I always had a natural curiosity about my birth parents that anyone would have in the same situation,” Lorbieki said. “Those questions typically evoke a wide variety of emotions. However, even before I met her, I still respected her for making the courageous decision to give someone who desperately wanted to parent a child the opportunity.”

Three years later, Baker stumbled onto then Tech. Sgt. Lorbiecki’s adoption page, which contained his contact information.

“There wasn’t a day that went by I didn’t think about meeting him,” she said. “Once I came across his page, I knew I needed to get permission from mom and dad before going any further. I gave them a call and they were so welcoming to the idea.”

Moments later, Baker was speaking to her birth son on the phone for the first time.

“Out of nowhere I got a phone call from her,” he said. “My parent’s amazing support meant a lot to me. It was a surreal moment, especially because I didn’t expect it.”

As the two talked and compared life stories, they were surprised to find both chose to make a career in the Air Force. He began serving in the Wisconsin Air National Guard with the 115th Fighter Wing based at Truax Field in Madison, Wisconsin. She began by serving as a vocalist in the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois.

“The Air Force was something he always wanted to do,” Baker said. “We were both wearing blue all these years and didn’t know it. My father was an Air Force pilot in the 50s, so John had it in his blood.”

Lorbiecki and Baker met face-to-face in October 2010. They have stayed in close contact ever since.

“We met, and it was like we had known each other our whole lives,” Baker said. “His whole family has been so welcoming.”

When Baker received the phone call from the 310th FS requesting her to sing the national anthem for this ceremony, she was thrilled.

“It’s a special honor and privilege for me to be part of this ceremony at one the most pivotal times in John’s career, and also to have the blessing from his family and his commander to participate,” Baker said.

The moment also meant a lot to Lorbiecki.

“I was able to have my adoptive parents and my birth mother in the same room during the most important graduation ceremony of my life,” he said. “Professionally, getting to this day was always my true goal. I look at it as a celebration of making it happen when others thought it was impossible. Friday night was a very simple event but it was significant for both of us.”

Despite time, distance and different directions in life, both have ended up in a similar place. They are fulfilling their lifelong dreams in the Air Force, and they get to do it together.

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