RALEIGH, N.C. – The North Carolina National Guard has many fine leaders. Some trained at the North Carolina Military Academy at Fort Bragg and obtained their commission as an officer there. Others commissioned as college students enrolled in various ROTC programs through colleges or universities. Still others joined the NCNG from active, reserve or other states’ National Guard units.
For Army 2nd Lt. Jason Barber however, his journey was a little different. Barber instead, earned a direct commission as an officer through his years of hard work and upon the recommendation of numerous high-ranking NCNG leaders.
“He is a Soldier’s Soldier,” said Maj. Mingus Pozar, an intelligence officer with the NCNG’s 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team.
Direct commissions promote enlisted Soldiers to the officer corps through a very competitive process with senior Guard leaders at the highest levels making the final decision.
Pozar officiated Barber’s commissioning ceremony at the NCNG Joint Force Headquarters here, March 8.
Barber, wearing the stripes of an Army staff sergeant for the last time, marched on stage at the JFHQ auditorium with his wife, Joy, and their daughter.
Pozar announced, “Publish the order.”
Barber stood at attention as his daughter ripped the stripes off his uniform with a quick tug. Soon after, his wife pinned the gold bar shoulder boards of an Army second lieutenant to his shoulders. Applause from family, fellow Soldiers and friends filled the room.
“Thank you for coming today and leading me to this,” said Barber addressing the crowd.
Barber is a unique blend of scholar and warrior; a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate and combat veteran with two deployments with the N.C. Guard.
His journey began in his native Alice Springs, Australia, where he began his military career with the Australian 1st Armored Regiment. Barber served with the unit for several years before meeting his wife and moving to North Carolina. He attended UNC-Chapel Hill where he earned his degree in Peace War and Defense and also joined the NCNG.
Barber served as part of the 252nd Combined Arms Battalion’s Personnel Security Detachment and would later deploy with the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team in 2004. Barber impressed leaders with his unique and intuitive approach to military intelligence. He was known for his thorough analysis of the battlefield and understanding the complexities of how the enemy thinks and acts.
“I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself,” said Barber.
He stayed with the 30th Brigade Combat Team and deployed to Iraq yet again in 2009, where he served, this time, as an intelligence analyst for the 252nd.
At the recommendation of key leaders whom Barber worked for throughout his career in the 30th, he applied for a direct commission as an officer in the NCNG.
The process took nearly a year and required multiple recommendations from senior leaders that attested to Barber’s qualifications and character. After acquiring all of the recommendations and various other requirements for his packet, Barber submitted his request to Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk, adjutant general of North Carolina, for review and consideration.
“It is not a short process, but I had great support from Officer Strength Management (OSM),” said Barber. “They took my packet and looked after it every step of the way; through the State board and up to NGB. OSM’s help was invaluable.”
“I am excited for him, he was a great NCO (non-commissioned officer) and will make a great officer,” said Army Staff Sgt. Darius Jenkins, a tank commander with C Company, 252nd Combined Arms Battalion headquartered in Fayetteville, N.C.
Barber is not the first Australian Soldier to make his mark on the NCNG.
As he alluded to in his speech at the commissioning, more than 94-years-ago during World War I, NCNG Soldiers of the 30th Infantry Division (now the 30th ABCT), along with Soldiers of the Australian Expeditionary Force breeched part of the Hindenburg Line and forced a German retreat in one of the largest battles of World War I.
It was a special day for a special Soldier who has served in two different nation’s armies and embraces the foundations of the United States and the freedoms we as Americans, all hold dear.
As Barber stood amongst cheers and applause from family and friends, one could truly appreciate and admire the dedication and sacrifice of a man whose journey began as a native Australian and culminated as a trusted commissioned officer, serving in our nation’s military force.
EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: For any questions, please contact the North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs Office at email@example.com or by phone at (919) 664-6242. For more NCNG news, visit our website: www.nc.ngb.army.mil/. To become a Facebook fan of the NCNG, please visit www.facebook.com/NCnationalguard or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NCnationalguard. To view additional pictures from this and other events, visit www.flickr.com/photos/ncngpao.