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  • Writer's pictureJim Ratti, '82

Maj Gen (Ret) Abel Barrientes Running for AOG Board

24 Jan 2021

If you're a member of the USAFA Association of Graduates (AOG), you're probably aware that they'll soon be holding an election. Voting runs from 8 Feb through 22 March and will decide some changes to bylaws and fill five open seats on the board of directors. The directors' terms run for four years. You can learn more about the election, the issues and the slate of candidates here.

I learned that our own Abel Barrientes is running for one of the seats on the board! This is great news, as far as I'm concerned. I have a lot of respect for Abel and I'm glad he's on the slate. He's got my vote and I'm proud to be his classmate.

Here's some background on Abel and his reasons for running:



A native of San Antonio, Texas, Abel graduated from USAFA in 1982. He flew the T-39, C-21 and C-5 before being released from active duty in 1989. Abel then entered the Air Force Reserve unit program at Travis Air Force Base, California, flying the C-5. During his 36-year USAF career he held command positions at the squadron, wing and numbered Air Force levels. Abel was mobilized for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990, and for operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom in 2003. In 2006, he was deployed as the Senior Military Advisor to the Iraqi Air Force. He retired in 2018 as a Major General.

Abel is the Chief Operating Officer of the Hispanic Veterans Leadership Alliance, an organization seeking to improve the number of Latinos across all leadership levels in the Armed Forces, military and civilian.

He also serves on the California Rugby Advisory Board at the University of California, Berkeley. Abel is a command pilot with more than 5,700 hours of military flight time and has been employed for over 30 years as a commercial airline captain with more than 13,000 hours of accident free civilian flying time.

Candidacy Statement My name is Abel Barrientes and I am throwing my hat in the ring to serve on the Board of Directors for the USAFA Association of Graduates. As a 1982 graduate, the 4 years I spent as a cadet were the most formative years of my life. I owe so much to the Academy; from my 36-year Air Force career to my profession as an airline pilot and a lot more. As such, I have always wanted to give back to my alma mater. As a servant leader it would be both an honor and a pleasure serving the legacy of the “Long Blue Line.” I would be a tireless advocate for our graduates from the more “seasoned” grads to our latest “butter bars” and harvest ideas about how to enhance the graduate and cadet experience when interacting with the AOG.

As an AOG board member, I will be a valuable asset with my experience both on active duty and as an Air Force Reserve officer. I have nonprofit board experience and a unique perspective from a Citizen Airman point of view as I juggled the USAF, my airline job and my family successfully. Thank you for your consideration.


Please pass the word to others (regardless of graduation year) who may not be aware of Abel's candidacy and let them know that we have a very capable classmate running.

And by all means, cast your vote starting 8 Feb!

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