Guardsman keeps fueling the mission
By Master Sgt. Roger Parsons, 116th ACW Public Affairs
/ Published December 23, 2013
Dec. 23, 2013 -- The days of pulling your car up to the gas pump where you were greeted by a friendly gas station attendant, also known as gas jockeys, have become a thing of the past--unless you are an E-8C Joint STARS.
Georgia native, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Bradley Barreth, Georgia Air National Guard, a fuels specialist working as a dual-status civil service technician with the 116th Air Control Wing, has been that attendant for the JSTARS aircraft that have now logged more than 85,000 combat flight hours across the globe.
"Working with fuel is not a career field a lot of people get excited about but what we do is vital to mission success," said Barreth. "Nobody goes until we give them the hose."
During the week, while working as a civil service technician, Barreth is not only responsible for pumping the fuel that keeps the E-8C's flying but also receiving, storing and accounting for petroleum products used by the wing.
When monthly unit training assemblies roll around, Barreth puts on his supervisor-trainer hat and mentors traditional Guardsmen ensuring they receive the hands-on training and experience needed to excel in their jobs.
Barreth brings a wealth of experience to his role having previously served on active duty in the Air Force and garnering experience from multiple deployments and temporary duty assignments around the world.
"Right after earning my 5-skill level in fuels I deployed for operation's Desert Shield and Desert Storm," shared Barreth. "I learned how to get the job done in a tense and crazy environment. It was good experience that applies to my current job."
His experience was called upon during Hurricane Katrina when Barreth was deployed to ensure National Guard and active duty helicopters participating in the rescue efforts were continuously fueled and ready for service.
"When I got to Gulfport, Miss. it looked like a bomb had went off," said Barreth. "Helicopters were flying 24/7 and we had to keep them gassed up because people's lives were at stake.
"Serving during Katrina gave me a real sense of pride. As Guardsmen, we contribute a lot to the federal mission and deploy overseas on a regular basis. It's nice to be able to make a difference right here at home when domestic emergencies occur."
Making a difference doesn't stop at the front gate for Barreth. After 9/11, he felt compelled to do more in his community.
"After watching the response of the fire fighters during the attacks, I thought about what else I could do in my community," said Barreth. "I trained to become a volunteer fire fighter and have been serving in my community for the past seven years."
When asked what he enjoys most about being in the Air National Guard, Barreth replied, "I like the people. It's a family atmosphere where you build lasting relationships."
The 116th Air Control Wing provides joint airborne command and control, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and combat support forces to meet state and national objectives.