Author InterviewsMilitary Transition Lessons Learned

Transitions Lessons Learned – Interview with Lt Col. Joseph Barnard

Recently I had the pleasure of connecting with Joseph F. Barnard former Air Force Lt Col. Joseph Has extensive experience in; Expert in Project Management and Cost Containment, Implementing Process Improvement, Creating/Executing Standard Operating Procedures and Extensive Domestic / Global Refinement Experience.

Joseph currently is Director of Operations at Signal Point Systems in Kennesaw, Georgia.

His military experience is extensive including:

  • Lt Col, Combat Rescue Officer – Personnel Recovery Branch Director
  • Commander, 38th Rescue Squadron
  • Director of Plans and Programs, 23rd Wing

My interview focused on the transition from a military command into the private sector, and some of the struggles that Joe and everyone else will go through. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Q What did you do well during your transition?

It started long before my transition. We saved our money! We sacrificed current day satisfaction for future security. It’s a tool you can absolutely flex with if you have the resource reserve. I started looking at the DFAS retirement calculator at my 28-year mark. I started networking with non-military friends and family about two years out. I had enough with the Govt so I did not create a USA jobs account. I was all in towards capitalism. I interviewed a lot. I got feedback that I was interviewing them instead of them interviewing me. I took the feedback went back and debriefed with myself. I flexed on what I wanted to change and fully owned what I was going to be rigid on. Absolutely the vigor I had as a Pararscueman and Combat Rescue Officer needed to soften (somewhat). My hobbies of skydiving, surfing and mountain biking allowed for me to have a cool story outside of my military career at war. It made transitioning my tribe easier as well.

“The big question was what to do, for whom and what was my new worth?”

Joe Barnard

Q. What did you do poorly during the transition and what did you learn failure?

I left the Air Force on bad terms with some. I gave scorn to some that did not deserve it. For a short term, I lost admiration for the entire institution due to the actions (I despised) of a few. I eventually learned (with lot’s of great counseling) that not forgiving was only hurting myself – my anger towards people outside the family was destroying me, I hated it and I turned to excessive drinking to numb my pain. Meghan almost has more saves on me than I have as a rescue man. One day in the gym towards the end and my desire to drink was overtaking my desire for health, it was 1:00 in the afternoon. I sought help and a new challenge began. I don’t think seeking help is about weakness but there is bad counsel out there. SOF operators climb high because of embracing competition and justly being judgmental as to protect the team. As you search out help that does not stop, and it makes finding help very hard. Lions need to counsel lions, not sheep, even though there are some very smart sheep. It was troubling how male sheep acted like lions to me, it was harder at the start, I kept searching. I eventually found a couple of female lions that got me back on track.

Q. What do you miss most about the Air Force? And do you stay connected to the military brotherhood?

Being on the cutting edge of tactics, techniques, procedures, and equipment. We were allowed to be entrepreneurs inside the bureaucracy. The caliber of men I was associated with was very high. These type of folks are out there in the civilian sector, but finding them is like prepping for a unicorn hunt. My hobbies keep me connected to my military past. I also get calls from past subordinates from time to time, seeking advice and updating me on what’s going with an initiative I was part of. It makes you feel great when the young up and comers think of you. The foundation of this amazing career gave me all the skills that directly transfer to the needs of private companies. leadership, team building, complex scheduling and tight timelines, STEM selection, purchase, troubleshooting. Making more readiness with a fixed budget is actually executing a profit budget. No P&L, AP/AR, PMO, HR, IT, Logistics or Business Dev challenge scares me – nor should it scare any other Veteran who is squared away and applies themselves.

Joeseph Barnard and Family

Joseph Barnard is a Florida native who has known since elementary school that he wanted to serve in the military. Once enlisted in the conventional force, Barnard was intrigued by the outside-the-box, rigid duties associated with the Special Forces route. The high-caliber people, ever-changing duties, danger, and crisis requirements kept him wanting more. Ultimately becoming SF in the Air Force, it proved to be a place where he truly thrived thanks to the application of his creativity, skills, and knowledge. He learned compassion, tenacity, vision, and dependability, and he honed extraordinary STEM skills, all while managing nearly 1,700 team members operating on 24/7 crisis alert across five global locations.

Having wrapped 33 years of service and not wanting to settle for a position that would be unfulfilling, or was potentially not the best fit, Joe expressed his concerns to a Navy SEAL buddy. He was referred to YGN and is presently enrolled as a fellow in the program.

Barnard is a change agent. The highest value that he delivers is inventive execution, directing operational logistics, and connecting technology and human capital resulting in tan-gible, profitable solutions. His success is driven by his ability to build highly effective teams and to manage and resolve complex problems. He is an influential leader who creates immediate impact, produces results, and fuels excellence.

More information on Meghan can be found on her web site and Facebook page,

For more information on Joe can be found on Linkedin or – WW.YGN.ORG

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2 thoughts on “Transitions Lessons Learned – Interview with Lt Col. Joseph Barnard

  • need more guys like this

  • This is one of THE best articles I’ve read… straight shooting and raw…thanks Joe, for your service and your honesty!


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