NEWS | Nov. 5, 2019

Partners in Life, Mission

By 2nd Lt. Amber R. Kelly-Herard 15th Wing Public Affairs , 15th Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Since arriving in Hawaii about a year ago, the Barkemeyers try to live their best Hawaii life by going on hikes, visiting the beach and exploring the other islands.

Mr. and Mrs. Barkemeyer are also both C-17 pilots who work toward stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region.

“We’re both C-17 instructor pilots and we’re both airdrop pilots,” said Emily. “It’s rewarding because we fly against each other, but we can also relate to each other on a deeper level.”

Most recently Capt. Emily Barkemeyer, 15th Wing Safety Flight Safety chief, returned from Kunsan, Republic of Korea. The Cedaredge, Colorado, native met with U.S. and Republic of Korea Army personnel to discuss C-17 airdrop training opportunities in the Republic of Korea.

“We typically train at Pope Field, so having training in the Republic of Korea would be closer and provide as good as or even better training opportunities,” said Emily.

The Pacific Air Forces only C-17 Demonstration Team, with Capt. Jared Barkemeyer serving as the lead, recently returned from the 2019 Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition—the largest event of its kind in Northeast Asia.

“The 2019 Seoul ADEX was unique because it was the first time the team flew in an airshow as a team,” said Jared.

The team joined about 180 other U.S. military personnel to strengthen military ties with Republic of Korea allies, while enhancing relationships with military, defense and aerospace industry partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

For Jared, being able to perform in an airshow was a full circle moment.

“I grew up in rural New Mexico near Kirtland Air Force Base and I would see C-130s training and that inspired me to go to the Air Force Academy and become a pilot,” said the Belen, New Mexico, native.

“As the only C-17 Demo Team in PACAF, we get to perform at airshows that are not stateside,” said Jared. “There is a unique pool of people who are born in Korea who join the U.S. military, so I take this mission to heart.”

Although the two Barkemeyers were both in the Republic of Korea, they never met.

When the Barkemeyers aren’t projecting the Air Force’s airlift capabilities across the Indo-Pacific region, they focus on spending time together as a family.

“We try to spend as much time as we can with our 18-month-old son,” said Emily.

The two Barkemeyers met at the Air Force Academy 11 years ago and have been married for seven years.

According to the Air Force’s Personnel Center, more than 29,500 active duty members are married to another active duty member.