Euel Avon Barber, 92, passed away on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, in Ardmore, Okla. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday, May 10, 2013, in The Chapel at Griffin-Hillcrest with Pastor Raymond Tenpenny officiating. Interment will follow in Rose Hill Cemetery.
Avon was born on April 26, 1921, in Ardmore, to O.D. Barber and Anna Lou (Shackelford) Barber. He was preceded in death by his parents; and a son, Terry Barber.
Avon graduated from Ardmore High School in 1940 and entered the Oklahoma Military Academy in Claremore, Okla., graduating in 1942. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves on October 5, 1942, as an aviation student. He qualified for Flight Instructor rating from the Army Air Corps and Commercial with Instrument Rating from the Civil Aeronautics Administration. He married Miss Mira DeMaurice Prator on April 25, 1943, in Ardmore, Okla., and together they just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
In 1943, he served at Denton, Texas, as a Field Artillery Flight Instructor for Spotter Pilots in the L-4A aircraft and served as an Advanced Flight Instructor at Lamesa Field, Texas. At Avenger Field, Texas, he was Flight Instructor/Evaluator for the Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots. In 1945 and 1946, he was assigned to a P-51 Squadron at Luke Field, Ariz. He then served at Craig AFB, Ala., Flight Instructor School and then Hondo AFB, Texas, as Flight Instructor/Evaluator for Aviation Cadet Pilot trainees. He served at Tyndall AFB, Fla., in 1953, as Flight Commander in P-51 Fighters.
In 1954, he served with the Strategic Air Command (SAC) at Randolph AFB, Texas, for Air Craft Commander training for the B-29 Heavy Bomber. He then served at Chennault AFB, La., as Air Craft Commander of a KC-97 Tanker flying refueling missions. At Chennault, he was trained to be a Special Weapons Instructor for the 806th Air Division Nuclear Weapons School. He trained B-47 Bomber Crews in Fission/Fusion Reactions In-flight and practical delivery of the Desolating-H-Megaton yield weapons including procedures to Ride-out Blinding-searing Flash and Radiation Shock Waves during Blast Escape Maneuvers. He was also Officer in Charge of support for two SAC utilized Royal Air Force stations in England. Following the completion of the Nuclear Weapons Engineering School in 1961, he was assigned to a B-52 Bomber (SAC) Wing at Altus AFB, Okla., as Nuclear-Ordnance Loading Operations Officer responsible for maintaining continuous Nuclear Strike Readiness.
In 1962, he served with United States Air Force Europe, at Wiesbaden, Germany, as Team Chief responsible for inserting Permissive Action Link (PAL) codes in Nuclear Weapons to enable the Commander in Chief the weapon selectivity affording Full Nuclear Yield when and where needed. Major Barber's team coded the first seven North Atlantic Treaty Organization bases in Europe. After Germany, he served with the Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB, Va., as Munitions Loading Crew for the F4 Phantom Fighter Bomber.
He served as Task Force Chairman to initiate Operational Status for the original pinpoint precision laser guided (SMART) bombs at Eglin AFB, Fla., Proving Grounds.
His awards and decorations include: National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, WWII Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Expert Badge with Pistol Bar, Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar and Command Pilot Aviation Wings. Major Barber retired from the United States Department of the Air Force on July 1, 1971, with 28 years, 7 months and 22 days of outstanding, professional and dedicated service to his country.
After retirement, he worked for a well logging service as a Log Engineer. He is a life member of the Disabled American Veterans, member of the American Legion, Military Officer's Association of America, Military Memorial Museum Association, United Methodist Church and Sons of the Confederate Veterans. In 2006, he was awarded the General George Donovan "Volunteer of the Year Award" and on June 11, 2012, he was inducted into the Hall of Honors at the Military Memorial Museum here in Ardmore, Okla.
Avon was an accomplished musician and played in the military band. He was a student of history and loved to read.
He is survived by his wife of the home.
Serving as pallbearers will be Clint Holt, Jim Dyer, Admiral Wesley Hull, Sam Veazey and Kent Tucker.
Family visitation will be from 6 - 8 this evening at Griffin-Hillcrest Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested all donations be made to the Military Memorial Museum, 35 Sunset Drive, Ardmore, OK 73401.
Condolences may be left at www.Griffin-HillcrestFH.com.