Well done Jo Barlow AH1

A Female Leading Airman Aircraft Handler has become the first to qualify for Petty Officer and be promoted in her branch at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose.

It wasn’t the job I’d said I wanted to do, nor is there a military tradition in my family but I wanted something different, exciting and challenging.
Leading Airman Jo Barlow.
Leading Airman Jo Barlow completed her Petty Officers Qualifying Course (POQC) in January 2014 after a four month demanding and exhaustive training course at the Royal Naval School of Flight Deck Operations (RNSFDO), and home of Aircraft Handling and Fire Fighting in the Fleet Air Arm.

Presenting her with her coveted Badge and certificate was Commander Air and Training at RNAS Culdrose, Commander Peter Munro-Lott.

“It’s always a great honour to present Leading Hands with their qualifying badges,” said CDR Munro-Lott.

Jo completed her Naval Airman Qualifying Course (NAQC) in June 2002 and spent a short time at RNAS Yeovilton Fire Station before joining HMS Ark.
“My family were very proud and somewhat shocked when I joined the Royal Navy when I was 17,” said Jo.

“It wasn’t the job I’d said I wanted to do, nor is there a military tradition in my family but I wanted something different, exciting and challenging.”
And Jo certainly has the future in mind for her next job.
“I join HMS Illustrious as the ‘Petty Officer of the deck’. It’s going to be a full-on programme for the next year.

“It’s going to be very competitive amongst all the Petty Officers in the Aircraft Handlers Branch. I’m very proud to be the first female Senior Rate in the Branch and even prouder to be able to finally answer a question my Nan asked me as I passed out of basic training at HMS Raleigh.

“She asked ‘When do you get the uniform with gold buttons?’ and I can finally say, now!”

Well done Jo.

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8 Responses to Well done Jo Barlow AH1

  1. Alan Coles says:

    proud of the branch i served in 1958 many years ago, ihope she will be like most of us oldies

  2. thomas mackay says:

    Great at long last we are now a modren branch as an oldie Started in Nov 58 left May 85 I think having work with a lot of ladies in civie life it is great to see that the branch has reacted well to havibg a female petty officer in the branch good for youy las

  3. Nick Carter says:

    I do congratulate her, although her penultimate paragraph saying “It’s going to be very competitive amongst all the Petty Officers in the Aircraft Handlers Branch” does worry me. My time and training, back in the 60’s always instilled the virtues of teamwork within the branch, I therefore have to agree with John Stevens. Didn’t we swap tots John, and it’s me that’s off watch today!!!!

  4. Dave Gash says:

    It seems to have taken a long time for a female to qualify for PO but congratulations to you and may many follow in your shoes I hope you are a member of this web site and read the remarks. Well done!

  5. Fred Tubb says:

    Yes Well done that young lady, you certainly Deserve the rank you have now qualified for. I am sure your Nan and parents are extremely proud. I hope that your career continues in the true Traditions and scope of the AH Branch. It must have been hard coping with a changing and evolving branch, with the arrival of ladies and the Cut backs in the FAA and Navy as a whole including loss of carriers, loss of aircraft, but you made it. You have a lot to look forward to. Please carry on making our branch proud.

  6. Frank says:

    Yes I agree well done Jo to have the guts and determination to succeed in the world of Aircraft Handling remember the old routine “different ships different cap tallies” as true today as its ever been but the spirit of the branch lives on and to that end I will also raise a tot……

  7. Peter Russell says:

    People evolve with changes in circumstances and equalisation. Odd to think of a female PO Handler, and on deck, but my former career in Fire Brigades had similar misgivings about females in the firefighter role. My daughter, (who rode shotgun to Officers in Bosnia conflict) and grew up next door to fire stations reckoned a woman could never actively compete with a man in the fire fighter role. She still does think its dangerous to place women in those situations, but times have changed enough to allow it to happen. Hope we never have to account for the actions that lead to life loss in the role due to femininity.

  8. John Stevens says:

    Good luck to her. The branch has certainly changed since my time. In fact the Navy has changed dramatically. I am sure glad I was in during the 60’s. I don’t think I would fit in this mans navy. But there again who would want an old fart like me. Must go as it’s my tot time.

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