By Maj. William Carraway
Family, friends and service members of the Georgia Department of Defense gathered in the drill hall of the Ga. DoD Joint Force Headquarters in Marietta, Ga. and online via Facebook Live Jan. 19, 2021 to witness the promotion of Lt. Col. Barry Simmons to colonel. Brigadier General Dwayne Wilson, commander of the Ga. Army National Guard, presided over the ceremony.
“Less than one percent of the population will either choose to serve or meet the requirements to serve in the military,” said Wilson. “Of that smaller percentage who elect to make the military a career, a much smaller percentage reach the rank of colonel. So, today’s ceremony says a lot about the quality of service of Col. Barry Simmons and his family.
A graduate of the Citadel, Simmons entered military service in 1997 as an armored reconnaissance cavalry scout with the U.S. Army. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Ga. ARNG in 1999 and was branch qualified in aviation. Since commissioning, Simmons has logged more than 3,000 flight hours in rotary and fixed-wing aircraft and has served in command positions of increasing responsibility from commander of Company H, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment and ultimately command of the 1-171st. In the course of his aviation career, Simmons has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and supported numerous domestic response operations. Simmons has additionally served in key staff positions from battalion to state level culminating with his appointment as the chief information officer of the Ga. ARNG in 2019.
In his comments following the promotion and oath of office, Simmons thanked his family and fellow service members for their support over his long and distinguished career.
“Since I was a boy, I wanted to serve in the military,” said Simmons. “I ultimately found a home right here in the Georgia Army National Guard. I couldn’t be more proud to serve in this organization.”