James "Chef" Barlow
James “Chef” Barlow grew up in Tampa, Florida and attended Florida State University where he graduate with a B.S. in Marketing and then received a Masters of Aeronautical Science with emphasis in Aviation Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Upon commissioning as a Lieutenant in United States Air Force, Chef became a Contracting Officer for two years and received his Level-II Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting (FAC-C) while waiting to attend USAF flight school. As is tradition dating back to the roots of fighter aviation, James was given the callsign “Chef” when he became combat mission ready in the A-10 “Warthog.” The name “Chef” was given not because James was a cook but because even as a young Lieutenant, he always had something cooking. The name stuck! “Chef” Barlow served twenty years in the United States Air Force as an A-10C Central Instructor School Instructor Pilot, Forward Air Control Airborne (FAC-A) Instructor, Mission Commander, and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) “Sandy” pilot. He’s the first fighter pilot since Vietnam to fly 100 combat missions in a single combat tour. He’s received seven Air Medals and been featured in New York Times Magazine, Stars and Stripes and other military publications. He is the former Director of Operations for Green Flag, the DOD’s premier Close Air Support training exercise where oversaw and was responsible for the safe operations of 13 major exercises over a year. Each exercise encompassed 5,000 to 9,000 personnel on a moving battlefield while U.S. and foreign fighter aircraft employed live weapons in tactical scenarios. He’s flown more than 5000 total hours including 2400 A-10 hours and 413 combat hours with 117 Confirmed Enemy KIA. Chef has experience flying and employing the A-10, F-16, F-18, GR-4, AH-6 Attack Helicopter, and AC-130 Gunship. Civilly, Chef has flown everything from a Super Cub in the Alaskan bush to a 737. Also, Chef literally helped “write the book” on the joint tactical manuals JP3-09.3, JFIRE, and others, used today by every ground and Close Air Support unit in the free world. Chef is the Founder and CEO of Blue Air Training LLC, the industry leading Close Air Support training provider for SOCOM’s JTAC training school, SOTACC, all of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), and now the entire USAF. Blue Air is the only company approved by the United States Air Force to employ live weapons on its fleet of attack jets, turboprops, and helicopter aircraft. Blue Air has tallied more than 38,000 airstrikes since they started counting that metric in 2015 which equates to saving the US taxpayer over $400M during that time. In the last three years, Blue Air Training has been awarded 11 national awards including: The Inc.5000 top 750 companies in US for 2018, 2019, 2020, SBA Veteran Small Business of the year 2018, Vet100’s Top 55 Veteran Business of the Year 2018, 2019, 2020, The #1 Business in the State of Nevada 2018, #7 2019, and #5 2020, #1 FSU Alumni Business 2018 and 2019. With his primary business interests residing with Blue Air Training, Chef’s entrepreneurial endeavors have expanded into several other companies across diverse industries as well as being the Executive Director of Attack Aviation Foundation 501 (c)(3). Additionally, he is a Coast Guard certified 100Ton Ship Master Captain, a diver, and competitive spearfisherman. Chef is married to former USAF Captain, Dr. Gretchen Barlow and has two sons. Their oldest son Ben is currently in the Air Force Reserves in Tampa as a KC-135 Boom Operator and is also a student at Florida State University and their youngest son Trent is an Active Duty USAF weapons production technician.Read more Read less
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