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Featured Profile for Air Crew Member
Air Crew Member — Edward Barkley

Edward Barkley

At 22, I had finished high school and had been working for four years when I decided to join the Air Force. At first I wanted to be an aircraft mechanic, but during basic training, I volunteered to go to loadmaster school so I could be a mechanic and fly. I completed three months of training in Savannah, GA, and then spent three more years maintaining air cargo and airdrop equipment and flying missions to drop supplies for use in field exercises.

After four years, I decided that I wanted an Air Force career. I liked my job, the security it provided, and the opportunity it gave me to get ahead. By reenlisting, I also knew that I would go overseas on my next assignment. For nearly two years, I was on crews that flew out of Okinawa, delivering food, supplies, and troops; sometimes dropping supplies to troops in the field.

For the past ten years, I have been assigned first to Travis Air Force Base (AFB), CA, then to McGuire AFB, NJ. During both of these assignments, I have held many different jobs and have traveled worldwide. I also completed an associate’s degree through courses offered on base and a bachelor’s degree through a special on-base program run by a private college.

I have advanced my career as a loadmaster. Shortly after arriving at Travis AFB, I became crew leader. I then worked my way up the ladder in my squadron, taking on more responsibility. As a trainer at McGuire AFB, I prepared new loadmasters for work on C-141 aircraft. I advanced to flight examiner and then to assistant chief of loadmasters. After two years, I became an air crew operations manager. This position brought me my most challenging assignment – managing all Air Force cargo and passenger equipment from the Mississippi River to Egypt. I made sure that the right type of equipment, from cargo containers to passenger seats, was available at the right airfield when it was needed. For the past several years, I have been the chief of loadmasters for several different squadrons, managing loadmasters carrying supplies throughout the world.

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