•Professional Achievement - Level I•
Major Eduardo Barajas
Deputy Chief, Materials Durability and Sustainment Branch
(AFRL/ RXSS), Systems Support Division (AFRL/RXS)
Wright Patterson Air Force Base
United States Air Force
Education: M.S., electrical engineering, Air Force Institute of Technology; B.S., electrical engineering, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
Even in a country of immigrants, the story of Major Eduardo Barajas stands out as a beacon of success. Arriving in the U.S. from his native Mexico at the age of 20 after his father’s immigration petition was approved, his desire to serve his new country and advance his educational opportunities led him to enlist in the Air Force shortly thereafter.
Assigned to Ellsworth Air Force Base, he served as a Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning journeyman and quickly enrolled at the nearby South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSM&T) as a part-time student. Despite a six-month deployment to Oman, he managed to quickly earn his B.S. in Electrical Engineering.
Degree in hand, Major Barajas briefly left the military for the private sector where he worked as a project engineer, but his desire to continue serving his adopted country soon had him returning to the Air Force – this time as an officer. As a B-52 Program Management Engineer at Barkesdale AFB, he worked on numerous projects improving the reliability and efficiency of the B-52 bomber systems.
After a promotion to First Lieutenant, Major Barajas transferred to Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio where he worked as a signal analysis technology engineer and earned his M.S, in electrical engineering. For his next assignment, he managed the Low Observable Materials Technology Program, where he lead research, managed the costs, schedules, and performance of F-35, F-22 & B-2 projects, and directed tech transition for weapon system. The activities of cross-functional researchers under his direction came with a budget of $13 million.
It was in his next deployment as the hand-picked Assistant Director of Operations with Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-B) in Honduras, that Major Barajas’ native Spanish language ability enabled him to build unprecedented trust and rapport with local leaders. In this post, he effectively supported Honduras in disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, and a drug interdiction program credited with reducing drug trafficking by 40% in 2 years. During his free time in Honduras, he volunteered with multiple organizations, including Habitat For Humanity and local churches and orphanages to build homes, refurbish schools, deliver food, and help in reforestation efforts.
In his current role, Major Barajas serves as Deputy Branch Chief in the logistics systems & support division of the Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. He leads a team of 50 researchers tasked with providing war-winning technology in materials durability and sustainment. Their mandate includes combating corrosion, developing new and improved coatings and sealants, and expanding the use and effectiveness of low observability materials. He also oversees cost reduction initiatives worth hundreds of millions of dollars over the life cycle of key Air Force weapons systems, and helps ensure fleet safety as a subject matter expert on advanced fuel sealants.
With multiple service medals and engineering awards to his name, Eduardo Barajas’ recent promotion to the rank of major is well-deserved and a testament to both the quality of his work and the strength of his character.
-By Vinnie Longobardo