Capt. William Ballard Barrow, Jr., 95 of Pensacola, FL, passed away on Thursday, September 14, 2017. He was born on September 30, 1921 in Louisburg, NC.
After attending Marion Military Institute, Capt. Barrow graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1943 (Class of 1944.) He then joined the "Battleship Navy" serving in World War II Pacific campaigns aboard the USS Washington. From the battleship Navy he moved into aviation via Ottumwa, IA. He received his wings in Corpus Christi, TX. Then following a Mediterranean cruise flying off the USS Roosevelt, after which he was ordered to Pensacola for landing signal officer training, followed by a two-year tour at the Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, MD.
During the Korean conflict, Capt. Barrow flew over 100 missions in F-2H2s. He commanded an A-4 squadron at Cecil Field, FL and later the Replacement Air Group VA-44 at the NAS, Jacksonville, FL. Air Group 44 was the largest in the Navy using 115 airplanes and 1,200 men to train naval aviators in the airplanes they would be flying in the Fleet. Always an innovator, Capt. Barrow developed new training techniques and leadership methods to use.
After a tour at the Naval Aviation Safety Center in Norfolk, VA, the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., navigator of the USS Forrestal in the Mediterranean plus various other duties including the Pentagon and command of the USS Aludra in the Western Pacific during the Vietnam War, Capt. Barrow was assigned as Seventh Fleet representative in Saigon, Vietnam. His first Legion of Merit with Combat V was awarded for duty in this position during the TET Offensive.
Other naval service included a tour as commander of the USS aircraft carrier, USS Bennington, homeported at NAS Long Beach, CA and later in charge of operational analysis and budgetary projects at the Pentagon. Following was a tour of duty as Commander Fleet Air Norfolk headquartered at NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, VA, followed by a tour on the staff of the Chief of Naval Training at NAS Pensacola.
After retirement, he was promotions director for the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola and was active in starting the association of Naval Aviation, was a member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association, the Tiger Bay Club and the Pensacola Country Club.
Capt. Barrow was preceded in death by his mother, Mary E. Jones; father, William B. Barrow, Sr.; and brother, Joseph J. Barrow.
He is survived by his wife, Mary W. Barrow; daughter, Janice Barrow; and son, William B. Barrow, III.
A memorial visitation will be held on Thursday, September 28, 2017, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm at Harper-Morris Memorial Chapel. A funeral procession will leave Harper-Morris Memorial Chapel at 1:00pm to go to Barrancas National Cemetery for a graveside service at 1:30 pm. A celebration of life will follow at the Pensacola Country Club at 2:30 pm.
A special thanks to the Haven of Our Lady of Peace for their compassionate care.