550 McDonald Street, Bldg 1210
Maxwell-Gunter AFB AL 36114-3107
Hours of Operation
Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education / Published June 29, 2016
The Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute (AFEHRI) was established 23 May 1997 and is currently a component of the Barnes Center. It is comprised of a director, a curator, a noncommissioned officer in charge of the AFEHRI operations, and an information technology and administration technician. The AFEHRI’s mission is to educate and motivate visitors by researching, preserving, and showcasing to the world our Air Force enlisted history, heritage, and their resulting contributions to air power. The AFEHRI answers monthly information requests from as high as the secretary of defense down to the lowest ranking Airman. The AFEHRI is responsible for writing both the history and heritage chapters of the Professional Development Guide (PDG) that all testing-eligible Airmen study for promotion, and contributes heavily to the Airman’s Hand Book. Support is also provided to students in all facets of enlisted PME. It also provides secondary student support to the USAF First Sergeant Academy, as well as to the Officer Training School (OTS), Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), Air War College (AWC), the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), the Junior ROTC (JROTC), etc.
The institute is comprised of two elements. The research and archives element consists of a research center, archives storage, and a student computer lab. The heritage center element consists of the Enlisted Heritage Hall, with many student-teaching exhibits. A city and state tourist attraction, it is also serves as a military museum to civilian visitors. The AFEHRI preserves the rich and dramatic heritage and tradition of the USAF enlisted corps and its antecedents—Aeronautical Division, Army Air Service; Army Air Corps; and Army Air Forces—in the development of airpower to defend the United States. The AFEHRI achieves its mission by featuring artifacts, art collections, pictorial exhibits, written and oral documentation, audiovisuals, equipment, and selected aircraft parts. Additionally, students use the in-house and online research capabilities to enhance learning and complete enlisted heritage research projects. A significant archival holding is also available, and efforts are systematically made to ensure its growth and availability to researchers and the public.