Photo of Donald Barnes,Colonel, USAF, Retired, Executive Officer, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla

Donald Barnes,Colonel, USAF, Retired, Executive Officer, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla

February 26, 2024

Economic Club member Don Barnes manages day-to-day operations of the civic organization (Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla) which dedicates itself solely to enriching the vitality and imagination of greater Tampa through its highly successful annual calendar of Gasparilla festival events. In this tradition, each year the Krewe hosts the third largest parade in the US States and the largest children’s parade in the country, now more than 350,000 spectators.

Don Barnes has led YMKG since 2011, when he retired from an outstanding 26 year career in the Air Force. His military career included 6 promotions across 17 assignments around the world, including a deployment to Iraq and five different Pentagon assignments. He specialized in human resource management. The US Air Force repeatedly recognized Don's achievements. He earned 9 major awards and decorations , including the Legion of Merit with an oak leaf cluster. He was a leader in Air Force human resource management in both peacetime and wartime, including service as Personnel Chief for all USAF military members supporting wartime operations in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Colonel Barnes's final military assignment brought him to Tampa as Commander, 6th Mission Support Group, Macdill AFB. In that position, Don led 2,200 people in six squadrons, and supported two major Commands plus 47 other units. His office served as a focal point for plans, programs and services necessary to support 658 facilities for populations of 7,000 military personnel, 12,000 civilians, and 250,000 retirees. Don's annual operating budget responsibilities reached $50 million, plus $155 million in military construction, plus $9 million in service.