Barry Hon of near Florence has been promoted to Colonel in the U.S. Army. The ceremony took place on January 31st.
Hon grew up behind Florence on the dairy farm that he and his family currently live on. Hon bought the farmstead house and had it restored.
“I’ve been in the county my whole life with the exception of the time that I was in college and all my assignments around the world,” he said. “I was very blessed.”
Hon joined the Army in 1981 after graduating mid term from Switzerland County High School when he was just 17 years old. During his career he has served in all three Army components: Reserves, Guard, and Active duty; and he is currently on active duty in the National Guard.
“I am truly humbled and honored and recognize Major General Courtney Carr (Indiana’s Adjutant General) and Major General David Wood (38th Infantry Division Commander) for the selection and confidence in me to serve at this level,” Hon said.
During his tenure in the service, Hon has been to so many different assignments and countries that it’s nearly impossible to list them all.
“I’ve been in Fort Bragg, Fort Bliss. Been to Iraq, Bosnia,” Hon begins his list. “Fort Knox, Fort Leavenworth, I’ve been all over the place through my active duty and the Guard and Reserve service.”
Originally after enlistment Hon was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, rising to the rank of Sergeant.
He then went to college, graduating from the ROTC program at Eastern Kentucky University in 1989, and being commissioned as an officer. He then rose through the various officer ranks, and along the way he also earned his MBA from Webster University in 2012.
Now, Hon is currently the Indiana State Army Aviation Officer, which means that he is the resource officer for all aviation assets in the state.
“We’ve got 19 Blackhawks, two LUH-72 Lakotas, a C-12 fixed wing; and then we have unmanned aireal systems – UAS’s they call them,” Hon said. “They’re scattered throughout the state. We’ve got a facility at Shelbyville; we’ve got a facility at Gary, Indiana; and we have the UAS’s down at Camp Atterbury; and our fixed wing is at the Indianapolis airport.”
Hon is headquartered at the State Headquarters of the Indiana National Guard in Indianapolis, and works with the commanders who are in charge of all of those different elements and make sure they’re resourced and he also manages the schools and training that is needed.
“We make sure that they get the schools they need and the right number of schools each year,” the Colonel said, “because when you talk aviation, it takes years to build the experience in people. It’s unlike something like infantrymen. You still need that senior level, mid level leadership, however you can still bring in a bunch each year, because it’s not as complicated. For aviation you must have an enduring pipeline, I call it. I try and resource the seats through the Army school system at Fort Rucker, Alabama.”
Hon is currently serving full time in the Army National Guard, having spent 24 years on active duty when he retires, with the remaining 14 years having been served in the Reserves and the Guard.
While he was serving in the reserves, Hon worked for Griffin Industries in Northern Kentucky, traveling around the world in that postion; but after 9/11, in 2003 Hon’s troops got notification that they were going to be deployed to Bosnia.
“Once I decided to train up for Bosnia, I stayed on full time after that,” Hon said.
Hon figures that if everything stays as is and “nothing else crazy happens”, he’ll retire from military service in about 2 1/2 years.
Hon and his wife, Lorrie, have been married for 18 years, and have three children: Janalynn, Cooper, and Adara.
“It’s been a long ride, and I’m truly honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve at this level,” Hon said. “It’s all work, and I’m gonna do it whether I’m a Colonel or Lieutenant Colonel.”
And as honored as Hon is, and also very humble and non-assuming about the honor and promotion, he also stresses that this is something that he credits to the help and guidance of others.
“One thing I do want to stress is I could not have made it to Colonel without the ethical and moral foundation my parents, grandparents and many other mentors that our community provided,” Hon said. “I would not have achieved this rank without serving with so many great leaders and other military personnel. I thank everyone for supporting me, but I would not have been successful without the endless support of my family and friends during my deployments and while meeting the other high demands of this profession. Lastly, God was with me from the time I entered service at 17 years old and is still with me today. God has truly blessed me and continues to do so.”
Barry Hon’s biography that was shared during his promotion ceremony shows a soldier and a career of brave service to his country:
With more than 30 years of military service, serving in a variety of command and staff positions, he last served as the Site Commander of the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center and now serves as the State Army Aviation Officer.
Col. Hon earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture from Eastern Kentucky University and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Reserve via ROTC as a distinguished Military Graduate in 1989. He later earned a Masters of Business Administration from Webster University in 2012.
Some of Hon’s assignments have included the 504th Chemical Det., 82nd Airborne Division, 11th Special Forces Group, Scout Platoon Leader of the 8-229th Attack Helicopter Battalion, Company Commander C/2-238th General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Bosnia, Aviation Commander of 2-238th GSAB minus in support of Operation Enduring Mission, Bosnia, Operations Officer (S3) with the 38th Combat Aviation Brigade in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Commander of the 638th Aviation Support Battalion and Executive Officer of the 38th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Hon’s schools include Ranger, Airborne, Air Assault, and the resident Command and General Staff College. As a Senior Army aviator, he is qualified in the UH-1 Iroquois, OH-58 Kiowa, AH-64A Apache and the UH60 Black Hawk Helicopters. Among Hon’s awards include the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters.