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NEWS | May 23, 2023

First KYNG Signal Chief Warrant Officer 5 signs off the net

By Lt. Col. Carla Raisler, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

Chief Warrant Officer 5 David Barker retired during a ceremony at the Boone National Guard Center, in Frankfort, Kentucky on April 27, 2023, culminating a distinguished 39-year-long military career.

Barker joined the Army in 1984 as an enlisted Soldier and in 1993 commissioned as a warrant officer, specializing in electronic maintenance. His career at Boone National Guard Center began before he enlisted into the Kentucky National Guard as a groundskeeper.

“I was mowing grass on Boone Center and going to college at night,” said Barker. “I really couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do. I joined the Guard to pay for college and 39 years later, here I am.”

Barker began his federal technician career in 1997 as an electronic mechanic supervisor at the Combined Support Maintenance Shop. His career eventually led him to his final role as the mission command branch chief and the first signal warrant officer to reach the rank of chief warrant officer 5 in the Kentucky National Guard.

During his career, Barker developed the G6 tactical communication training program, emergency communications program, established the wireless communications shop and implemented the DMARCS system that provides radio communication across the Commonwealth. Most recently, he became the first director for the G6 mission command branch, focusing on tactical and emergency communications capabilities.

Barker’s contributions to the Kentucky National Guard and the Commonwealth of Kentucky have not gone unnoticed by senior leader in the organization. Col. John Blackburn, the chief information officer, believes that Barker has been instrumental in saving the lives of Kentuckians through the emergency communication initiatives he implemented during his tenure.

“His dedication and selfless service to the organization are exemplary and have ensured our ability to provide seamless, interoperable communications during times of crisis that saved the lives of countless citizens,” said Blackburn.

Not only did Barker potentially save the lives of Kentuckians; he also inspired Soldiers to follow in his footsteps through his dedication to the people who worked for and with him. Staff Sgt. Dakota Richardson, a technical communications specialist, is currently attending warrant officer candidate school. He has worked with Barker full-time since 2019 and attributes his decision to become a warrant officer candidate to Barker’s influence.

“When I first started working here, one of his first questions was “when are you dropping a [warrant officer] packet?’” said Richardson. “I didn’t have an answer for him. He kept pushing me through, and he’s been a major help, especially getting me introduced to the warrant officer accession program and supporting me along the way.”

A warrant officer is a technical expert in their field and advises the commander. That is what attracted Barker to commissioning as a warrant officer. As the senior signal warrant officer in Kentucky, he transitioned to being a mentor for future warrant officers. Barker built his legacy throughout his career, and the young Soldiers and warrant officers he has mentored along the way will continue to advance the programs he built.

“Not only has Chief Barker built a mission command support infrastructure that will continue to serve the Kentucky National Guard for the foreseeable future, his impact on everyone he has worked with over his 39 years of service will continue to serve the Commonwealth as part of his lasting legacy,” said Blackburn.

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