Rear Adm. Stephen D. Barnett is a native of Columbia, Tennessee. He is an alumnus of Tennessee State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and Troy State University where he earned his Master of Business Administration. He earned his commission at Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1991.
At sea, Barnett reported to Patrol Squadron (VP) 46 stationed at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island as a naval flight officer. He has also served as the operations department administration officer onboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and served as a department head for VP-5 stationed at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. As commanding officer of VP-47 stationed at Kaneohe, Hawaii, he led the squadron on a simultaneous deployment to Japan and Iraq, executing more than 250 missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his tour, the squadron completed more than 950 sorties comprising 5,000 hours.
His assignments ashore include serving as a detailer at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, directing the assignments of more than 1,000 naval aviators; naval flight officer instructor for VP-30, NAS Jacksonville; assistant Joint Requirements Oversight Council Secretariat, assisting in the evaluation and development of joint force requirements on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Barnett served as senior program analyst for Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV N80), he monitored naval aviation’s $137 billion annual budget, and as deputy executive assistant to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. Additional assignments include deputy director of the Resource Management Division for the Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower Personnel, Training, and Education), commanding officer of Naval Base Coronado, California, as chief of staff for Commander, Navy Region Southeast and Commander, Navy Installations Command and deputy commander, Navy Installations Command. Barnett’s first flag officer assignment was as commander, Navy Region Northwest.
Barnett assumed command as commander, Navy Region Southwest in July 2021