HomeNewsArticle Display

Together, one team one fight

Together, one team one fight

(Courtesy photo)

Together, one team one fight

(Courtesy photo)

Together, one team one fight

(Courtesy photo)


She skimmed by the crowds of people in the narrow hall, moving her eyes rapidly to each door she passed at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Her eyes fell on the training grounds for the Drum and Bugle Corps.

A myriad of people spoke to her, but there was one snare drummer that stood out.

“He was the only upperclassman that wasn’t a jerk,” Col. Catherine Barrington, 91st Operations Group commander, said with a smile. “There wasn’t anything romantic, he was just a really nice person.”

A year and a half passed as friends until their relationship was tested.

“I had a death in the family and a lot of trouble getting to them,” said Cathy. “When I told him, he not only let me borrow his car, but was really supportive of me. It was kindness that you don’t find often.”

After this incident, they grew closer. During a trip to Aspen, Colorado, to perform a parade, he took a leap of faith and asked her on a date. Although she was hesitant, she agreed.

“After another week of being around one another and him asking me out on another date, I couldn’t deny that there was something about him that made me want to be with him,” said Cathy.

A few months before his graduation, they began dating.

One May evening, the couple was walking through the streets of the Academy. Their eyes fell on the chapel, bringing questions to their minds. “Do you think we’re going to get married one day,” said Col. William Barrington, 91st Maintenance Group commander. That one question, spoken aloud, brought Cathy over the moon.

“At first, I had been dreading his graduation since I didn’t know if our relationship would last,” said Cathy. “I loved him at this point and was afraid that we would grow apart after he graduated. This question brought back my fears.”

Bill was stationed in Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, directly after his graduation in 1995. In the summer of ‘96, Bill came back to see Cathy and proposed. Another year later, they were married.

“It was a very special day, both exciting and joyful,” Cathy said. “I was absolutely thrilled to be marrying him.”

That year, Cathy graduated from the Academy and was assigned to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, for a year of special training. They were now 2,730 miles apart.

“That last year was difficult, but we managed to make it work,” said Bill. “I would call her one week then she would call me the next to keep the phone bill from getting too high.”

During her training, she received her next orders to F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming. Since they were married military-to-military, she knew that they would meet again there with orders, albeit a few months apart.

The marriage made the military aspect of their relationship a little tricky, but their senior leaders had their best interests in mind, said Cathy.

“We couldn’t be in each other’s chain of command,” said Bill. “Due to that, they switched us around a lot as we progressed through our careers. We could both be flight commanders, but once I put on major, it proved a little more difficult.”

Besides the occasional temporary duty location for training, Bill and Cathy have been fortunate enough to be stationed together throughout their careers. Even now, with both being colonels, they are not separated. Instead, they managed to make it far in their careers as group commanders at Minot AFB, North Dakota.

“We’re in a unique situation here,” said Bill. “With us being ops and maintenance, we’re able to work out a lot of issues and scheduling together.”

Bill and Cathy have two children, Will, 13, and Adam, 10. No matter what is going on, they have managed to have at least one parent at almost every event their kids are involved in, including baseball, cross country and instruments.

“Bill and I coached their baseball teams starting with T-ball, but they have recently outgrown our coaching ability,” said Cathy. “It’s a challenge, but we make it work.”

“There’s always going to be challenges,” added Bill. “We have to balance work and family, TDYs, etcetera. As the day goes on, someone has to break off to take care of the kids.”

They also ensure when they’re finishing their degrees or professional military education, there’s enough time to study and assist each other.

“I know I benefit from his guidance and the discussions we have about leadership, the Air Force and other professional aspects,” said Cathy. “I like to think we help each other out.”

As they progress further in their careers and personal life, they know that there is a time when they will leave the military. Regardless, they know they can rely on each other.

“He is the love of my life, a terrific role model, a great leader and my closest friend,” said Cathy. “Being a parent, a wife and an officer is demanding, but I have the best teammate in the world.”

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

Contact Us

To reach the Minot Air Force Base Main Directory, call: Commercial (701) 723-7979 or DSN: 453-7979.   

To request Public Affairs support, please fill out an Air Force Form 833 and email to the Minot AFB Public Affairs workflow mailbox

Unfortunately, we are not accepting marquee requests since our marquee board is down for an undetermined amount of time. Thank you for understanding.