Retirement ceremony honors chaplain's service, church's support
August 22, 2013
SHELBYVILLE, Ind. - After 25 years of service as chaplain, Maj. Robb L. Barlow retired from the Indiana Army National Guard, Sunday, Aug. 18, in Shelbyville, Ind.
Barlow's ceremony was held at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church where he has served as pastor for 26 years.
"I'm shocked this much was pulled together," said Barlow.
Brig. Gen. Brian Copes the Indiana National Guard director of the joint staff, presented Barlow with the Meritorious Service Medal, the Indiana Distinguished Service Medal and a flag flown at the Joint Force Headquarters in Indianapolis.
Copes and Barlow's careers first crossed paths in the mid-1980's.
"I was touched that General Copes would come and take time out of his busy day," said Barlow.
Barlow reflected on his career in the military as he spoke at his ceremony and also said his church had to sacrifice while he was deployed with the 38th Combat Aviation Brigade for nearly a year from 2009 to 2010. His church was presented with a Patriot Award, an Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve ward that's given to employers that support Guardsmen and Reservists. The ESGR is a Department of Defense office that focuses on promoting understanding and cooperation between civilian employers and reservist.
"Any employer, large or small, accepts a certain burden, and they sacrifice when they allow members of the reserve component to mobilize. For a church in particular, would be like a president of a company saying I'm going to step aside for a year and you all take care of it until I get back," said Copes.
The Legion of Hoosier Heroes was presented to Barlow from Col. Bernard Kruse, 38th Combat Aviation Brigade commander. Barlow's wife, Karen, was given the Legion of Hoosier Heroines award by Donna Copes.
"He was a great inspiration overseas" said Chief Warrant Officer 5 William Leonard, of Barlow. Leonard, a 38th Combat Aviation Brigade helicopter pilot, deployed with Barlow from 2009 to 2010 to Iraq. "I wanted to see him get all of his just awards that he had coming from the military. It was a big day for him, and for me, to see him retire" said Leonard.
In 1976 Barlow earned his commission as armor officer. After completing seminary, he transferred to the Chaplain Corps where he served in the National Guard until 1995. Barlow came back to the National Guard in 2007.
After the ceremony, Barlow reflected on his time in service again.
"Don't ever underestimate the strength of the friendships you develop in the Guard. That impression you make as a junior officer can come back and make a difference in 15 years. It's been a great run and aviation has been good to me," said Barlow.
Barlow and his wife have been married for 37 years and reside in Shelbyville. They have three children, Adam Barlow and Robbyn Everette,who both serve as captains in the Indiana Army National Guard and their daughter Kari works as a nurse in Shelbyville. Barlow and his wife also have three grandchildren.