Thomas N. Barnes

Ranked #93 on the list Best Military Person of All Time

Based on 3 votes

About Thomas N. Barnes

  • Participated in conflicts: Korean War

Thomas N. Barnes, CMSgt USAF (ret.) (November 16, 1930 – March 17, 2003) was the fourth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force and the first and to date only African-American in that position. He was also the first African-American Senior Enlisted Advisor in any of the Armed Forces of the United States. CMSAF Barnes served as Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force from October 1973 to July 1977. He was key in bringing many African-American related issues to the attention of senior military leaders. In April 1949 Barnes enlisted 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, aged 20, 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

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