P.O. Box 5230, Fort Lee VA 23801

(804) 734-4339


Tribute to President-Emeritus COL Bob Barrett

In January we lost a great Quartermaster, our beloved President-Emeritus COL Bob Barrett.

November 13, 1935 – January 23 ,2022

In Tribute

The Regular Army Soldier.  Bob was a native of Royal Oak, MI.  He graduated from Western Michigan University in 1957 with a degree in Business Administration.  He was commissioned through ROTC in the Quartermaster Corps.  Bob and his college sweetheart, Shirley, married shortly after their graduation from Western Michigan and within weeks began their 30 years of Army life and service.  At the time of Bob’s passing, he and Shirley were in their 65th year of married life.  Along the way they increased by their family by three — son, Robert, III and daughters Randi and Terry.  In addition to Shirley and their children, Bob is survived by three grandchildren and one great grandchild.

During his Army career, Bob served in troop units as an Infantry Platoon Leader, QM Company Commander, as Supply Officer (S-4) in both the 5th and 6th Special Forces Groups, the Supply/Logistics Officer (G-4) of the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force, and Commander of the 553d Supply and Service Battalion at Ft. Hood, TX.  As a Colonel, he commanded the Defense Depot Mechanicsburg, PA, was Deputy Commander, 1st COSCOM, Ft. Bragg, NC, and the Commandant of the Army Logistics Management College (ALMC) at Ft Lee.  As a staff officer, he was an Advisor to the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Chief Quartermaster; a Personnel Assignment Officer in the US Army Military Personnel Center; the Director of Training Developments at the US Army Quartermaster School, Ft. Lee, VA; and the C-4 Logistics, ROK/US Combined Field Army in Korea.

Bob was a Quartermaster Corps pioneer in Special Forces, providing combat logistics support to both SF Commands and the Vietnamese indigenous forces being trained and mentored.  The record of his varied and challenging assignments attests to Bob’s outstanding leadership, technical competence, and ability to lead in any situation and environment.  He demonstrated his Quartermaster Corps leadership and technical skills in supply and depot operations, petroleum, aerial delivery, and special operations support.  His contributions spanned diverse Army, combined, and joint logistics support planning and operation in the US, Alaska, Europe, Vietnam, Korea, and Grenada.

His military education included the Basic and Advanced Quartermaster Officer Courses, the Infantry Basic Course, Special Forces Officer Course, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

His decorations included the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with 3rd Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Master Parachute Wings, and foreign awards from the Republic of Vietnam and Federal Republic of Germany.

In recognition of his outstanding military service, COL Bob Barrett was inducted into both the Western Michigan University ROTC Hall of Fame and the Army Quartermaster Corps Hall of Fame.  In 2018, he was awarded the Ancient Order of Saint Martin for exceptional life-time service–one of only 22 Quartermasters to date who have received this award.

The Civilian Contractor.  Following his retirement from the Army in 1987, Bob Barrett continued to support the Army.  He accepted employment with Vinnell Corporation in Saudi Arabia.  He served as the Senior Advisor to the Commanding General, Logistics Base Command, Saudi Arabian National Guard, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. During the period, he assisted in the development and installation of a dual-language Automated Logistics System within the Logistics Base Command.  This system was later used to provide support to coalition forces during the Gulf War.  After the Gulf War, he was selected to become the Operations General Manager, Bradley Project, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.  Bob’s final tour with Vinnell was in Egypt as the Site Manager, Beni Suef, Egypt.  He was responsible for managing a housing and support complex occupied by US Air Force personnel and other supporting contractors.

The Volunteer Soldier for Life.  After an outstanding professional career as a soldier and Department of the Army contractor, Bob Barrett returned to his home in Colonial Heights and devoted himself to volunteer service at both Ft Lee and the Tri-cities area.  While he participated in many activities, his primary focus was in six distinct service areas.

The Army Quartermaster Foundation (AQF).  Bob Barrett was elected to the AQF Board of Directors in 1992 and served continuously for the next 30 years.  At the time of his death, he was still an active director holding the title of President-Emeritus.  From 2006 until 2016, he served as AQF President which was preceded by five years as Vice-President.  During those 15 years his contributions were unmatched.

Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Southside VA Chapter. Bob served the chapter for many years in many different roles to include several elected positions, the last being as Chapter President.  He arranged numerous fund-raisers which increased chapter membership, thereby providing higher levels of chapter financial support to the Army Quartermaster Foundation through increased donations — a win-win for both organizations. 

American Legion Post 284.  Bob served his Legion Post faithfully for nearly thirty years.  He was the long-time chairman of the Planning and Events Committee which was responsible for annual Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day ceremonies in Colonial Heights, VA.  He also served on many occasions as the Chairman of the Nominating Committee.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.  VITA is the Internal Revenue Service Tax Assistance Program which is annually sponsored by the Staff Judge Advocate Office at Ft. Lee.  Bob served at the Ft. Lee VITA site for more than 10 years preparing free income tax returns for soldiers stationed at Ft. Lee.

Polling Station Volunteer for the City of Colonial Heights.  For many years, Bob served the city on every election day as a polling station volunteer

Volunteer Visitor and Companion.  Bob spent many hours of his time visiting older, long-term patients at the McGuire VA Medical Center.  In 2007 he received a Certificate of Appreciation for 750 volunteer hours.

As you might have expected Bob Barrett was active in Foundation affairs until he was hospitalized five days before his death.  The week prior Bob and I had engaged each other in a lengthy telephone conversation on the topic of Foundation priorities for calendar year 2022.  A major goal recently approved by the Board of Directors is to increase the value of the Army Quartermaster Foundation Organizational Charitable Trust to $1 million.  The current market value is about $750 thousand.  The trust was established about a decade ago to insure that a perpetual funding source of annual income would be available to support requirements of the Quartermaster Museum with mandatory annual distributions.  At $1million the fund would pay out between $30-$40 thousand annually depending on stock market conditions.  Both Bob and I were strong supporters of establishing the organizational charitable trust to ensure perpetual funding of museum requirements which exceed appropriated dollars.

Therefore, as a tribute to Bob, the foundation officers will direct all donations made in memory of COL Bob Barrett to be deposited into our charitable trust fund as Bob would have wanted.  Hence, if you have not yet made a contribution to the Quartermaster Foundation in memory of Bob Barrett (as the family requested in his obituary), please consider doing so.  If you have already made a contribution and would like to donate more knowing how your contribution will be allocated, please do so.  To donate online you may click on the Donate button displayed below, or, if you prefer, you may mail a check to the Army Quartermaster Foundation, PO Box 5230, Ft Lee, VA 23801.  Please write COL Bob Barrett on the memo line.  Remember, all donations you make to the foundation are credited to your individual giving profile which determines your level on the Donor Honors Wall.

Join me in remembering Bob Barrett and his contributions to our Army, our Corps, and our Foundation, by clicking on the DONATE button here.

The Sword & Key Gift Shop handles all credit card donations for the Army Quartermaster Foundation through PayPal.

Thank you in advance for whatever you are able to contribute.

Richard E. Beale, Jr.
Major General, US Army (Retired)
President, Army Quartermaster Foundation