Barnhart retires from Air Force in Greencastle

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
TSgt. Philip Barnhart retired from the Air Force, with the ceremony held at VFW Post 6319, where he is a member. He is pictured with his father Paul, brother Josh and mother Barbara. The family lived in Greencastle for many years.

TSgt. Philip Barnhart retired from the United States Air Force, and he returned to his childhood home for the ceremony.

Formalities were conducted at Greencastle VFW Post 6319 on April 4. Approximately 50 family members, friends and military personnel attended to watch Barnhart receive accolades and awards for his 20 years of service. He had been stationed stateside in Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico; and abroad in Panama, Chile, Kuwait, Germany, Qatar, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Krygyzstan, United Arab Emirates, Crete, Morocco and Iraq. Much of his career was in security forces, usually as a canine handler or trainer. His last four years were as recruiter at the Chambersburg Mall, where he exceeded goals.

“It’s been a blast,” Barnhart, 38, said of the past two decades. “I loved to move. That’s my thing. When you get to see another country, you realize how good the U.S. is.”

The son of Paul and Barbara (Oliver) Barnhart, now of Northampton, Barnhart lived in Greencastle from 1975 to 1991.

“I consider this my hometown,” he said.

His siblings were at the ceremony: Josh, a 1992 G-AHS graduate; Wendy  Mason; and Amy Lowery. So was his daughter Laci, 8.

Barnhart graduated from high school in Orefield, Pa. in 1994. Josh played a role in what he did next. During his four-year stint in the Marines, Josh advised his younger brother away from that branch.

Barnhart also chose not to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was in the Navy for four years; nor a grandfather who was in the Army. Once in the Air Force, his experience with animals kept him in, rather than a planned exit to join Pennsylvania State Police.

The retirement ceremony was somewhat emotional for Barnhart, who also paid tribute to veterans from every era.

“No matter how a person served, talk to them and shake their hand,” he said. “They did something for our country.”

Barnhart, residing in Chambersburg, will look for a job now that his active duty military days are over.