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Deployed plumber plans on pursuing nursing degree, joining Reserves

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kelly Ogden
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)
You could say that he started training for his current job at just 12 years old when his father gave him his first set of tools.

"My dad built a toolkit for me and I still have it," said Senior Airman Kevin Barnett, a plumber from the 820th RED HORSE Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, who is currently deployed to Belize City, Belize, in support of the U.S. Southern Command-sponsored New Horizons exercise.

The Santa Paula, California, native has been in the Air Force for four years. His dad, a former electrician in the Navy, helped him choose an Air Force job.

"I chose to be a plumber because I wanted something that I could fall back on if I ever decided to get out," he said.

Previously stationed in a civil engineer squadron in Germany, Barnett says that the "tempo is so much faster with RED HORSE because it's all new construction versus maintenance."

And, working at a high paced tempo is exactly what he has been doing in Belize.

Barnett is working with engineers from the Belize Defence Force as well as with fellow U.S. Airmen, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers to build additions at four schools and one hospital in three different Belizean cities.

"It's been a great opportunity," he said. "I've never deployed before."

Barnett will finish his deployment in late-June. When he returns home he plans on joining the Air Force Reserve or the Air National Guard so that he can go to school full-time to earn a degree as a registered nurse.

"It's a family business," said the Senior Airman.

His sister is a nurse practitioner and his mom is also a nurse.

Of his overall military experience, Barnett says that he's learned a better work ethic, people skills and overall discipline.

"It's been a great experience."