FORT SILL, Okla. (June 29, 2023) — Fires Center of Excellence leadership gathered beneath to Post Flag to welcome FCoE’s newest Chief of Staff — Col. John ‘Mike’ Barefield— during a farewell and welcome ceremony Thursday, June 29, 2023.
Joe E. Gallagher, deputy to the commanding general, hailed the outgoing chief of staff, Col. Dan Blackmon, and welcomed the incoming chief of staff.
“The chief of staff is an invaluable position and essential member of the command team,” said Gallagher. “Dan (Blackmon) has been exemplary, and his leadership has left an indelible mark on our organization. Under Dan's guidance, we've witnessed exceptional growth and development. His strategic vision has led us through a transformative period, adapting to new circumstances and overcoming obstacles with resilience and determination.”
Incoming chief of staff, Barefield, joins the FCoE leadership team after serving as assistant commandant of the United States Army Field Artillery School. Before his assignment to the school, he commanded the 10th Mountain DIVARTY from June 25, 2020 to June 23, 2022.
Gallagher said a chief of staff must prioritize a myriad of competing demands; manage the many strong personalities that make up the FCoE staff; anticipate any problems; and at the end of the day, stand in front of the commanding general to explain it all, but he believes Barefield is perfect for the job.
“Col. Barefield brings with him a wealth of experience, a proven track record, and a passion for serving the Soldiers, families and civilians in the Army,” said Gallagher. “Mike, we look to you with confidence, and we eagerly anticipate the positive impact you will have on our Lawton- Fort Sill community.”
Barefield was commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer from the University of North Alabama in 1996 and has served at all levels of leadership within the artillery community. Following graduation from the Army War College, he served as the Director, Soldier Evaluation Directorate, Army Evaluation Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, before returning to Fort Sill and the Field Artillery School.
Barefield is married to the former Kerri Glaze and has two children in college — Drew and Audrey.
“I’m humbled for the opportunity to continue to work with FCoE and excited for the opportunity to work with the staff and all the folks who really make Fort Sill excel,” said Barefield. “I’m also excited to focus on looking at the whole enterprise versus looking at just the field artillery branch.”