Lebanon native and United States Navy Commander Master Chief James "Jim" Barlow will be welcomed home after 27 years of honorable and faithful service with a retirement ceremony on Saturday, July 23 at the Navy Operational Support Center in Smyrna.
The son of Jerry and Donna Barlow, he enlisted in the Navy in December 1988 following graduation from Lebanon High School. His duty locations have included Millington; San Diego; New Orleans; South Weymouth, Mass.; Fort Worth, Texas; and Norfolk, Va. as well as numerous overseas deployments to places like Sigonella, Sicily; Atsugi, Japan; and Guam to name a few.
Barlow has worked on Naval Aircraft Platforms from C-130 to F-18A/E. His staff and Command tours include managing the Navy Reserve Force Aviation Support Equipment Program, Command Master Chief at VFC-12 and his final assignment as the Command Master Chief for Navy Region South East, Reserve Component Command Fort Worth where he was in charge of 20 Navy Operational Support Centers (NOSCs) located in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
He is a graduate of the U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, Command Leadership School and MCPONs Executive Leadership Symposium. Barlow holds a bachelor's degree in education and history from Columbia College and graduate credit in military history from American Military University. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various other campaign and unit awards.
Master Chief Petty Officer is the highest rank available to enlisted members of the United States Navy and is the maximum enlisted paygrade of E-9. Less than one percent of the Navy's personnel make it to the rank of Master Chief, and those who do are considered to be among the best and the brightest in their respective specialties.
From the one percent of Master Chief Petty Officers, 0.1 percent are hand-selected to become Command Master Chief Petty Officers (CMC). This means that of the 356,779 enlisted personnel in the Navy today, only 356 are CMCs. A Command Master Chief Petty Officer is the most senior enlisted sailor in a United States Navy unit. He is the primary liaison between officers and enlisted sailors, an important resource for the Commanding Officer as the senior enlisted advisor and is often called upon to gauge morale and battle readiness.
Barlow is married to the former Debra Williamson of Chewelah, Wash. The couple recently bought a home in Lebanon to be near family and friends. Barlow looks forward to reconnecting with friends, living and working in the Nashville area.