Hank Barrows was born on September 9, 1946, in Bremerhaven, Germany, and he emigrated to the United States in September 1958, gaining his American citizenship in 1962. After completing his bachelor's degree at Rutgers University, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve on September 26, 1968, and entered Officer Training School on January 3, 1969, earning his commission as a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force at Lackland AFB, Texas, on March 31, 1969. Lt Barrows next completed Undergraduate Navigator Training and was awarded his Navigator wings at Mather AFB, California, in January 1970, followed by Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) training at Mather from January to August 1970. After completing AC-130 Spectre gunship Combat Crew Training, he served as an AC-130A EWO with the 16th Special Operations Squadron at Ubon Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from January to December 1971. He then completed B-52 Stratofortress Combat Crew Training in May 1972, followed by service as a B-52 EWO with the 346th Bomb Squadron at Westover AFB, Massachusetts, and deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, from May 1972 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on December 19, 1972. After spending 101 days in captivity, Capt Barrows was released during Operation Homecoming on March 29, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Westover AFB, Massachusetts, and then served as an RC-135 EWO, instructor EWO, and Admin Officer with the 343rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, from October 1973 to July 1977. His next assignment was as Group Electronic Air Operations Officer and Unit Operations Officer with Operating Location Alpha with the 7575th Operations Group at Rhein-Main AB and at Bad Toelz, Germany, from July 1977 to March 1981, followed by service as an Electronic Support System Manager, Air Operations Staff Officer, and then as Chief of the Special Support Branch with Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein AB, Germany, from June 1981 to July 1983. Lt Col Barrows next served as an Electronic Intelligence Requirements Officer with the Air Force Intelligence Service in the Pentagon from July 1983 to October 1986, and then as an Analysis Coordinator and then Deputy for Airborne Reconnaissance with the Air Force Element of the Defense Support Project Office at the Pentagon from October 1986 until his retirement from the Air Force on May 1, 1992. Hank Barrows died on February 11, 2002, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His 5th Distinguished Flying Cross w/Valor Citation reads:
Captain Harry C. Barrows distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as a B-52 Electronic Warfare Officer in Southeast Asia on 19 December 1972. On that date, Captain Barrows participated in a high priority bombing mission against a vital military target in a heavily defended area of North Vietnam. Despite the intensity of the hostile reactions and the great threat posed by them, Captain Barrows displayed extraordinary courage, a remarkable ability to perform under severe stress, and a willingness to place the mission requirements above his own safety as he successfully countered and neutralized those threats, thereby enabling his crew to release their ordnance on the designated target. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Captain Barrows reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.