Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Thomas N. Barnes was adviser to the Secretaries of the Air Force John L. McLucas and Thomas C. Reed and also Chief of Staffs of the Air Force Gen. George S. Brown and Gen. David C. Jones on matters concerning welfare, effective utilization and progress of the enlisted members of the Air Force. He was the fourth chief master sergeant appointed to this ultimate noncommissioned officer position.
Chief Barnes was born in Chester, Pa., where he attended elementary and secondary schools. He is a graduate of the 8th Air Force Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Academy and the U.S. Air Force Senior NCO Academy pilot class. In April 1949 Chief Barnes entered the U.S. Air Force, and received his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He later attended Aircraft and Engine School and Hydraulic Specialist School at Chanute Technical Training Center, Ill.
In October 1950 he was assigned to the 4th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 62nd Troop Carrier Group at McChord Air Force Base, Wash. In November 1950, Chief Barnes transferred with the 4th Troop Carrier Squadron to Ashiya, Japan, in support of the Korean War. Shortly after arrival in Japan, he completed on-the-job training for flight engineer duties. Then, due to low unit manning, he performed both flight engineer and hydraulic specialist duties. In September 1951 he transferred to Tachikawa, Japan, and continued flight engineer duties.
Chief Barnes transferred in June 1952 to the 30th Air Transport Squadron, Westover Air Force Base, Mass., where he attended C-118 school and continued his flight engineer duties in that aircraft. In September 1952, he volunteered for temporary duty with the 1708th Ferry Group at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, and participated in ferrying aircraft from various depots to Air Force organizations in Hawaii, Japan and Northeast Air Command. Upon completion of temporary duty, he returned to Westover.
In December 1952 he transferred to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and served as crew chief and flight engineer on B-25, T-11, C-45 and C-47 aircraft in support of various requirements of Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Headquarters Military Air Transport Service, and the Air Research and Development Command.
Chief Barnes transferred in June 1958 to the 42nd Bombardment Wing at Loring Air Force Base, Maine, and as a B-52 crew chief, flight chief and senior controller. In September 1965 he went to Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., and continued duties as senior controller.
In October 1966 he entered the F-4 Field Training Detachment at George Air Force Base, Calif., and in December 1966 went to Southeast Asia. There he served with the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing as noncommissioned officer in charge, reparable processing center; senior controller; and noncommissioned officer in charge, maintenance control.
In December 1967, he returned from Southeast Asia to Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, where his duties were T-38 section line chief; noncommissioned officer in charge, maintenance control; and senior enlisted advisor to the commander of the 3646th Pilot Training Wing. He was promoted to the grade of chief master sergeant on December 1, 1969, and was transferred to Headquarters Air Training Command in October 1971 to assume duties as command senior enlisted adviser.
On Oct. 1, 1973, he was appointed chief master sergeant of the Air Force. At the expiration of the initial two-year tenure, he was extended for an additional year by the chief of staff. In February 1976 he was selected by the chief of staff to serve an unprecedented second year extension. He retired Jul. 31, 1977.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
Outstanding Airman of the Year
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Oct 1, 1973