PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- With three decades of service in the U.S. Air Force, Col. Barry D. Roeper retired from active duty at Picatinny Arsenal on July 29. 

Roeper is the senior Air Force representative on the Single Manager of Conventional Ammunition team within Project Director Joint Products. Project Director Joint Products, or PDJP, is an office within the arsenal’s Program Executive Office Ammunition (PEO Ammo).

The PDJP office is responsible for the acquisition of the U.S. Air Force’s and Navy’s conventional bombs, fuzes, fuzes, fins, and lugs; energetics; Navy gun ammunition; and cartridge and propellant actuated devices. It has a portfolio value of more than $2 billion.

Roeper’s retirement ceremony was hosted by PEO Ammo and started with an invocation by Lt. Col. Terrance Walsh, the Arsenal’s chaplain. 

It then followed with remarks by Brig. Gen. Patrick W. Burden, Deputy Program Executive Officer Ammunition and Senior Commander of Picatinny, who officiated the event. 

“Whenever we talk about Picatinny’s mission, many people like to use the word ‘Soldier,’” said Burden. “They’ll say something like ‘We’re an Army base that provides weapons and services to the Soldier.’ While this statement is true, it only represents part of our mission.

“Instead our arsenal’s mission focuses on providing products and services to all branches of the U.S. military, regardless if they are Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, or Sailors,” continued Burden.

“So, it may seem odd that today we’re celebrating an Airman who came to a predominately Army military base to support mostly Airmen and the Navy. But, what Roeper represents is a bridge between Picatinny Arsenal and its overarching goal to support not just the Soldier, but every warfighter.”

Starting at PDJP in 2014, Roeper oversaw and managed multi-service teams that aimed to achieve cost, schedule, and performance goals for other service products.

Some of his notable achievements included providing 40,000 of 2,000-pound general purpose bombs to the Air Force, about 3,000 of the 5”/54 propelling charges to Navy, updating the manufacturing effort behind the 5”/54 operation, as well as leading 45 Department of the Army civilians. 

(The 5”/54 propelling charge is a component that provides the force that propels the 5”/54 caliber high explosive projectile out of the gun. The 5”/54 project is the ammunition often found in a Navy gun system, such as the MK45 Lightweight Gun Mount.)

“When I joined the Air Force in 1981, I fully intended to make this a career,” said Roeper. “I didn’t really think I would go past 20 years, and never dreamed I would go over 30 years. I also never expected to retire at an Army installation,” joked Roeper. 

“The point is that the Air Force is born out of the Army’s Air Corps [Roeper’s father joined the Army’s Air Corp as a pilot.] So, coming here at the end of my career is kind of like coming back to my roots. …I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here.

“Every day I was so impressed by the work that you do. It was just amazing,” added Roeper about his PDJP team. 

“You also know how to have fun, you all have such a great sense of humor, so you made my job easy and enjoyable. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much work be done by such a small group.”

A son of a World War II and Korean War veteran, Roeper enlisted into the U.S. Air Force in February 1981. After studying at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, he served in various command and joint-force roles, such as inertial navigational system technician, maintenance officer, squadron commander, and a joint munitions officer. 

He also had staff experience at the U.S. Central Command, two major commands, and the Twelfth Air Force of the U.S. Air Force Combat Command headquartered in Arizona. 

Additionally, Roeper was often a distinguished graduate and earned a bachelor’s in computer information systems, a bachelor’s in business administration, as well as two master’s degrees: one in aviation and aerospace management, the other in military operational art and science. 

He also earned major awards throughout his career for his service, such as the Leo Marquez Outstanding Company Grade Manager award from the U.S. Air Combat Command and Weapons Safety Officer of the Year award from the U.S. Air Force in Europe.

During his retirement ceremony, Roeper received two awards: the Presidential Certification of Appreciation and Legion of Merit medal. The Legion of Merit is awarded to military members who have provided outstanding meritorious service and achievements while on duty. 

Roeper’s wife also received awards at the event, including the military spouse medal, Air Force certificate of appreciation, and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force spouse certificate. 

Burden shared how she served four years in the Air Force as a ground radio repair technician and CPR instructor, earning the rank of staff sergeant in less than four years, and then decided to become a full-time mother.

“Nobody has a greater impact on my career and my life as my wife, Barbara,” explained Roeper, smiling at her in the audience. “We met in tech school at Keesler Air Force Base and she’s been with me throughout my entire career.…I greatly appreciated it.”