The Air Force recently named a Panola native serving as an Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center major at Hill AFB, Utah one of the winners of the its 2019 Nuclear and Missile Operations Awards.
Major Carlos Barrios is the Field Grade Officer of the Year for the awards. Barrios is the deputy chief for Minuteman III sustainment at AFNWC’s ICBM Systems Directorate at Hill AFB.
The awards recognize the outstanding accomplishments of airmen contributing to nuclear deterrence and missile operations, according to award officials. Winners are selected from among from the Air Force’s major commands, unified combatant commands, and other agencies.
Barrios was recognized for his efforts in spearheading a working group to deactivate the current intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system, the Minuteman III, and transferring the first Minuteman III launch facility to the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent ICBM program.
“This is well-deserved recognition of Carl’s efforts in the past year to improve sustainment of the Minuteman III, as well as smooth our transition to the future Ground Based Strategic Deterrent system,” said Maj. Gen. Shaun Morris, AFNWC commander and program executive officer for strategic systems. “It’s great to see our best and brightest recognized at the Air Force level.”
In addition, Barrios optimized depot maintenance activities and improved availability and survivability 425 percent for over 450 locations spanning three missile wings and an area the size of the state of Delaware. He revolutionized risk assessment for about 300 ICBM weapon system parameters, ensuring the proper allocation of $288 million in funding. He also planned the replacement of a launch control trainer and deployed a virtual training environment for the critical ICBM capability.
“This award is a recognition of the dedication and grit the entire sustainment team brings to the fight every day,” Barrios said. “The Minuteman III has stood as our nation’s shield for 50 years, and our mission of sustaining it will continue until GBSD is fully fielded.”
Barrios also augmented the 75th Air Base Wing’s Security Forces at the base gates, helping to alleviate traffic safety concerns.
Headquartered at Kirtland AFB, AFNWC is responsible for synchronizing all aspects of nuclear materiel management on behalf of Air Force Materiel Command, in direct support of Air Force Global Strike Command. The center has more than 1,300 personnel assigned to 18 locations worldwide.