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A final farewell to Maj. Gen. Vincent Barker

Army Maj. Gen. Vincent Barker, U.S. Transportation Command chief of staff, speaks during his retirement ceremony May 19, at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. (U.S. Transportation Command photo by Brien Vorhees)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — U.S. Transportation Command Chief of Staff Army Maj. Gen. Vincent Barker retired May 19, at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, after 42 years of service.
As USTRANSCOM’s chief of staff, Barker oversaw the development of plans, policies and procedures for the command, and ensured efficient operation and seamless interface between headquarters staff, component commands, and subordinate organizations.

Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, USTRANSCOM commander, officiated Barker’s retirement ceremony, where she spoke to Barker’s selfless service.

“What a legacy you have left,” Van Ovost said. “Such an incredible impact and inspiration for thousands ... Everyone has a Barker story because he didn’t just impact others, he inspired them.”

One of those inspired was his son, Spc. Seth Barker, who enlisted in the Army and was deployed during the ceremony. Though Seth is thousands of miles away, he was able to take part in the retirement via livestream, where he offered a final salute to his father.

“[Seth] is my hero,” Barker said. “He’s another great example of what resiliency is, what strength is … we’re so proud of you, son, just hurry and come home safe.”

During Barker’s time in the Marines and Army Reserve, he learned that resiliency is one of the greatest strengths that a military person and their family members need to have. “You have to be flexible and willing to accept the challenges of this profession,” he said during his exit interview. 

Also, at the ceremony was USTRANSCOM’s former deputy commander, retired Vice Adm. Dee Mewbourne, who shared stories of his time working with Barker in 2021 and 2022. 

“It was [Barker’s] first year as chief of staff and my last year as the deputy [commander],” Mewbourne said. “There were complex operational challenges and organizational challenges that we had to work through together. But he never complained despite all the work.” Instead, “he identified any problems and fixed them.” 

Mewbourne said that he learned a lot from Barker during their time together; most of all that “it’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up. And the challenges of our year together — Vincent always got back up.”

Van Ovost echoed Mewbourne’s sentiment and appreciation for Barker’s service, saying “Thank you … for your service to our nation and the positive impacts on countless service members and their families over the past 42 years. It’s tough to fully step out of uniform, but [I’m excited] knowing that you will be tackling new adventures.”

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