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Lieutenant Gen. David Fadok transferred command of the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education to Col. Jefferson Dunn during a change of command ceremony July 24 inside the Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox)
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Barnes Center changes command

Posted 8/2/2013   Updated 8/2/2013 Email story   Print story


by Rebecca Burylo
Air University Public Affairs

8/2/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. - -- Airmen may not realize just how far the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education touches their Air Force careers, but its new commander, Col. Jefferson Dunn, is more than aware of the Barnes Center's impact and reach.

Dunn accepted the center's charge from Col. Stewart Price during a change of command ceremony July 24 inside Gunter's Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

Fueled by its mission to provide enlisted Airmen with a continuum of leadership education through integrity, service and excellence and now distance learning, the Barnes Center is here "to help Airmen every step of the way," Dunn said.

"Our enlisted force is the backbone of our Air Force," Dunn said. "I believe that backbone is strong because our enlisted corps is strong. Our enlisted corps is strong because of the enduring commitment the Air Force has in providing the best training and education possible for every enlisted Airman demonstrated every day in the contribution of the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education."

Dunn transitioned to Gunter after commanding Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, where he was responsible for preparing more than 16,000 officer candidates through college programs across the nation.

Commissioned through the Air Force ROTC himself in 1986, Dunn is a senior pilot with more than 3,400 flight hours and awarded the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster and several other distinguished awards.

Dunn has served as the senior military assistant to the assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs as well as vice commander of the Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education.

Because Dunn has commanded "a geographically-separated organization" such as ROTC, Lt. Gen. David Fadok, commander and president of the Air University, is confident in Dunn's abil ity to lead the Barnes Center, which lends guidance to NCO and Airmen leadership schools across the country and overseas.

"You will be faced with the ever-present challenge of leading your people from afar and communicating with your commanders over great distances," Fadok said.

"The task in front of you is neither a simple one nor an easy one; however, having worked side by side with you, I am extremely confident that you will successfully overcome any challenges you face," he said.

Price, who retired July 26, expanded the center's military education even further through new distance learning courses, an effort Fadok praised.

Fadok said that transforming the three- week resident First Sergeant Academy course into a blended, distance learning course saved the Air Force thousands of dollars.

Speaking directly to Price, Fadok said, "Your contributions as a leader and your contributions as an educator have been phenomenal. The impact and the imprint that you leave behind are lasting, and they will surely continue to motivate those who come to serve here at the Barnes Center."

After 28 years of service, Price said he could not think of a better way to wrap up his career than helping educate Airmen in every aspect of becoming a warrior and leader for freedom.

"Every Airman is touched by the Barnes Center," Price said. "All along the way they develop into the professionals that they need to be through this great institution. There is no other institution like the Barnes Center. From cradle to grave, the Barnes Center has a hand on our enlisted force and that is truly an amazing thing."

The Barnes Center's influence on Airmen begins as they accumulate credits during basic training and later technical school for the Community College of the Air Force.

Among its many responsibilities, the center develops enlisted career development courses and curriculum for Airmen Leadership Schools, Air Force NCO Academies--in the continental U.S.--and the Air Force Senior NCO Academy, qualifies instructors, educates first sergeants and oversees the Enlisted Heritage Research Institute.

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