Honoring our Heroes
September 1, 2023 | View PDF
LtCol Mark Stephen Barnhart: Age 69
LtCol Mark Stephen Barnhart served 26.5 years in the United States Marine Corps. He served as a Naval Flight Officer flying F-4 Phantoms and F/A-18D Hornets with 3900 flight hours in fighter jets. His major squadron billets included Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Operations Officer and Commanding Officer. LtCol Barnhart was the director of day one flight training (Aviation Preflight Indoctrination) for the Naval Aviation Schools Command at Naval Air Station Pensacola in the late 80's and saw some 3500 new officers embark upon their aviation careers. He stood duty as an academic instructor and the Senior Marine at the Air Command and Staff College and ultimately instructed at the Air War College prior to his retirement in 2002. His medals, awards, citations and decorations included: Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement, National Defense Service Medal (two), SEA Service Deployment Ribbons (five), Navy Unit Commendation, Expert Rifle Badge and Expert Pistol Badge.
LtCol Barnhart was born March 15,1954 to Carl and Chrystal Barnhart in Refugio, TX, and he graduated from Refugio High School in 1972. He enrolled at Texas A.&I. University, and during the summer prior to his senior year, he attended the Platoon Leaders Class at "The Basic School" on Marine Base Quantico, VA. Upon his graduation with a B.A. Degree in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science in 1976, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.
LtCol Barnhart's Marine military service included an extensive series of assignments including five deployments overseas in the Western Pacific theatre (West PAC). His military education and service include: (1) The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA, for six months in 1976, (2) the Naval Aviation Flight School at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, FL for 18 months learning to fly the T-2, T-A4 and T-39 aircraft where he earned his wings, (3) training to fly the F-4 in 1979, (4) Naval Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) for six weeks in 1980 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Miramar, CA, (5) Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) for six weeks at the Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona,in 1981, (6) Amphibious Warfare School for 10 months at Marine Base Quantico, VA, in 1983, (7) Aviation Safety Officer School Aircraft Mishap Investigations at the Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, CA, for five weeks in 1985, (8) Marine Corps Command and Staff College (distance learning) in1985, (9) F18 Conversion Training for six months at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, CA in 1991 and (10) Air War College at Maxwell AFB, AL for 11 months in 1995. He taught at the Air War College for one year, and he retired in October 2002.
LtCol Barnhart's civilian education beyond his undergraduate degree included: (1) Master of Science Degree in Management from Troy University in 1989, (2) Master of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from Troy University in 1998, (3) ISO 9001 Internal Auditor Training (Quality Practitioners, Inc.) Inc. in 2003, (4) Associate Project Manager (Federal Market Institute in 2004 and (5) Advanced Leadership Course (VECTRUS) in 2014.
LtCol Barnhart and his wife, Kimberly, have been married 48 years, and they have two children, 6 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. He enjoys playing with his youngsters as well as hunting and fishing. He has continued working as a civilian contractor at Maxwell AFB in airfield operations since 2002. The Barnhart family attends Cain's Chapel Methodist Church at Holtville, AL. He has served as the President of the Downtown Optimist Club at Montgomery, AL. He was recently the Commandant of the Townsend Detachment #920 of the Marine Corps League in Montgomery, AL. and has been a member since 1997.
LtCol Barnhart's conclusions about his military service are, "It was a privilege to serve. It was very hard, challenging and rewarding. We knew that we were doing something special for our country. During my whole life, I wanted my Mom and Dad to be proud of me, and I feel that I achieved that. My father-in-law served as a Marine, and he influenced me into becoming a Marine. My wife, Kim, was key to the successes we had, as we did it together. The highlight of my Marine Corps service was as Squadron Commander of Marine Fighter-Attack (All Weather) Squadron-242 at El Toro, CA. Both my son and daughter have served in the USAF, and I am proud that they felt the calling to do so. Semper fi."