Meet U.S. Naval Academy Brigade Commande

Sydney Barber is committed to serving our Nation in the best way she can. Because of her dedication, she was the Naval Academy’s first Black female brigade commander. After graduation, she will continue to serve as a Marine Officer.

For Midshipman First Class Sydney Barber, serving her country was an instinct. With a strong belief in the founding principles of the United States Constitution, Barber believes her purpose is to continue orienting our Nation toward a better future.

The Marine Corps offered the belonging and purpose that Barber was looking for. At the U.S. Naval Academy, she found a path to pursue service and earn a commission as a Marine Officer. The alignment between Marine Corps values and her personal values let Barber know she had found her calling.

“Everything that I value I saw in every other Marine that I’ve ever interacted with.” – Sydney Barber

Earning a commission as a Marine Corps officer is no small feat on its own. Barber, like many officers before her, follows the rigorous curriculum of the United States Naval Academy. Her strength, determination, and passion have helped her excel in her studies and become a leader amongst her peers. To Barber, becoming the first Black female brigade commander was simply a result of her dedication to serving her Nation to the best of her ability.

For generations to come, the impact of Barber’s service will help progress our Nation’s democratic ideals. As she looks to a stronger and more united future, Barber also reflects on the past and remembers those who have come before her.

Janie Mines, the first black female graduate of the Naval Academy (class of 1980), celebrates Barber’s achievement. In her own career, Mines faced both racism and sexism. She pushed past the difficulties and followed her North Star: the call to serve the United States.

“We have, based on our service, a very unique perspective. We’ve been willing to give our lives so that the country that we serve is able to live the American dream. We don’t always feel that that dream is available to us. We rise above that and we serve our Nation.” – Janie Mines

Through the love of their country, Mines and Barber find the greatest connection. Although they both have achieved great firsts, neither did it for the recognition. Their accomplishments were merely milestones on their greater path of service to the United States.

“We’re living in a world that needs people that are willing to step forward and serve, and serve their fellow man and be leaders in a struggle that pulls us all together and drives out some of that divisiveness.” – Janie Mines

The firsts that Barber and Mines have accomplished in the name of the United States will inspire others to push themselves and accomplish their goals. For Barber, the goal was always to serve her Nation.

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Marine Corps Purpose

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Once a Marine, always a Marine." Whether you serve for four years or for 20, those in the USMC proudly wear the title ‘Marine’ for life.