By Kari HawkinsJanuary 18, 2018
After working for the Army for more than five decades, it's safe to say that your employer has rubbed off on you.
That's the case for Mark Barkley, who retired Jan. 3 after a 57-year career that spanned active duty in the Korean War and in Japan, and civilian service with the Air Force and U.S. Defense Mapping Agency before taking a job with the Army that eventually led him to Redstone Arsenal and the newly formed Aviation and Missile Command in 1997. He retired as the deputy director of the Aviation and Missile Command's Resource Management (G-8) Directorate the AMCOM G-8 Resource Management.
"I really think I've become an Army person because I've done this for so long," Barkley said at his retirement ceremony.
Before his retirement, Barkley was one of the Army's longest serving civilians. He received the Superior Civilian Service Award along with accolades from AMCOM's senior leadership and hundreds of well-wishers from throughout AMCOM and Team Redstone.
"I've had the pleasure of working with a great team of people in Resource Management and especially with a team I have called the Policies and Operations Division," Barkley said. "If I got into a fight, I think I would want all of them with me."
Barkley's exemplary service is an example for all employees at AMCOM and within the Army, said AMCOM commander Maj. Gen. Doug Gabram.
"As I've gotten to know Mr. Barkley and worked with him, and heard from his co-workers, his stellar reputation has come through," Gabram told those attending the retirement ceremony at the Sparkman Complex. "You've lived your life as an outstanding leader, co-worker, husband and mentor to many. You have left behind a work ethic and professionalism and reputation that we can all strive for. You have set the example for all of us."
Barkley was commended for his technical and management skills in support AMCOM's acquisition and sustainment mission related to Soldier readiness, for his dedication to mission accomplishment and excellence in support of the Army's combat readiness, and for his financial management acumen and leadership that contributed to the efficient execution of command resources while maintaining the highest level of accountability and auditability.
A native of Pell City, Alabama, Barkley completed two years of college before enlisting in the Army, where he served in the Korean War and in Japan as an aviation and anti-aircraft supply logistician. After two years of active duty, Barkley was assigned to the Reserves and went back to college, earning his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Alabama State University.
He taught high school math for three years, earned a graduate degree, and worked for the Air Force and then for the U.S. Defense Mapping Agency, both in St. Louis, Missouri. He then worked for the Aviation Systems Command in St. Louis, a move that took him back to the Army as a civilian.
While with the Aviation Systems Command, Barkley worked jobs in research, systems and cost analysis, and resource management. He was part of an effort that was responsible for the Army's first multi-year contract on the UH-60 Black Hawk, with contracts in 1977-79 and 1980-83.
"The multi-years saved the government a lot of money. As a result of that, I came back to resource management. I learned a lot at the project management level that really helped me in resource management," Barkley said.
He was part of the merger of the Aviation and Troop Support Command with the Missile Command, moving to Redstone Arsenal with the establishment of AMCOM in 1997. The move brought he and his wife Ann closer to their Alabama family.
Barkley was 61 when he moved to Redstone with AMCOM. His work in Army finance and budgeting changed with technology during his career, going from electric typewriters to word processing machines to today's laptop computers.
As the deputy director of AMCOM's Resource Management, Barkley guided AMCOM resource management professionals through numerous major changes in financial management systems, policies and procedures. He provided numerous funds determinations for AMCOM, the Program Executive Offices for Aviation, and for Missiles and Space, and other Army entities at Redstone Arsenal. He was instrumental in assisting with AMCOM's transition from Standard Operation and Maintenance Army Research and Development System to the General Fund Enterprise Business System. He has overseen AMCOM's implementation of Audit Readiness and Joint Reconciliation Program initiatives. Most recently, Barkley led the implementation of the Managers' Internal Control Program for AMCOM.
"I was going to leave in two years after I came to AMCOM. But, after I got here, I liked it so well I didn't want to leave. I kept putting it off until I came to the realization that it's probably time to do something else," Barkley said.
He thanked AMCOM's leadership for the opportunities he has been provided, and for the efforts being taken to develop leadership and technical skills in employees.
"I appreciate how you are developing our people," Barkley said. "Keep up the good work. Always remember to work as teams. You can't do it all yourself and you can't keep it all to yourself. You can do so much more when you work together."
His 18 years with AMCOM have gone by quickly, he said, because the work has been rewarding and he's enjoyed working with his co-workers. Barkley is known for sharing his knowledge and experience with other employees through mentoring, coaching and teaching.
He also counsels the 27 nieces and nephews that he and wife Arrie Ann share between their two families. One of those nephews is retired basketball star Charles Barkley, whose accolades include playing on the U.S. Olympic "Dream Team" in 1992.
Although he is retiring from his Army civilian service, Barkley is still committed to making a difference in the lives of the younger generation. He plans on continuing to share his knowledge through his next endeavor as a teacher at Calhoun Community College.