Friday, May 24, 2013

RIP - SGM (ret) William "Bill" Barchers

William J "Bill" Barchers, 59, of Naples, Florida passed away on May 16th, 2013. Bill was a former member of the 5th Special Forces Group; former J3 Operations Sergeant Major of Joint Task Force-Six; former SGM of the Special Forces Scuba School in Key West, Florida then his last position was in an SF E-9 billet at SOCPAC in Hawaii.

It is sad that his obituary listed on line did not include anything other than his age, date of death and that fact that he was retired Army SGM. So SFA Chapter IX is going to add some comments rom those who knew him:

Bill was one helluva guy. I've know Bill Barchers off and on since being reassigned to B580 at Fort Campbell, KY back in Jun of '91. Bill was hard as woodpecker lips. When I first met him he was but a mere team member on ODA 582. He then took over ODA 585, the Scuba Team and lead it for almost the entire time I was on 580. Bill always went to bat for his men and took it personally when one of them got blown off or otherwise disrespected. Woe be unto the disrespecter! Then Bill went off to the Sergeants Major Academy. He was diagnosed with cancer and lost a kidney, but was still able to graduate. Upon graduating he was reassigned to JTF-6 where he and I were reunited. The world is a lesser place for having lost Bill. He was a good friend, coach and mentor. And he will be missed. ~ Respectfully, John E. Swan, former Logistics Sergeant at JTF-6.

I remember Bill well as the SGM for JTF-6 OPS. He was hell on wheels and a good leader. On top of him surviving cancer while in the USASMA he led the JTF-6 Bataan team to take the heavy and light division from the Brit's (who won it like 7 years in a row) just 12 months after losing a kidney. He was hard as nails but fair. I remember going to Jerry Rainey's house for parties and he'd challenge everyone to do shots upside down. I personally didn't take him up on the offer but some did to include some of the wife's. It was funny to see Tequila running out of peoples nose's and the watering eyes.

Jerry Montoya, John Swan and some others and I helped him pack out when he PCS'ed to Key West and that was a fun day. He actually told his wife to go get her hair done so we could shove the household gear in the truck. I remember he had a piece of $hit sail boat the he towed all the ways to the Key's and from I hear, that one sank, he got another one and that one sank also...then he got a third. Anyway, there are more stories' but bottom line, the world will be one good person less because of his passing. ~ Pete Peral, SFA Chapter IX President

I too remember Bill Barchers well as JTF-6 Operations Directorate SGM. He was sure a character. Hard as Superman's kneecap. I don't believe I ever saw him without a smile on his face and he undoubtably loved life and his job in particular. He motivated the JTF-6 Bataan Death March team, led by BG Jim Lovelace and CSM Mike Jefferson, to wrest the title from the Brits after 7 years of British wins....and in fact they busted the course record that year by 15 minutes. Hope to see you again, Bill, not just too soon. ~ Brad Guile, MSG (ret)


  1. stacy Rainey MyersMay 24, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    At one of those up side down tequila parties my son Connor was playing with his beautiful little blonde daughteer and swung her around and she fell and broke her arm...I kind of freaked out and he was so calm and cool and picked her up and loved on her and drove her to the hospital after all the SF guys first splinted it with some random wood and string...Hahaha He was a sweet and funny man

  2. Bill Barchers and Mike Jefferson - two of the hardest men I've ever met, to be taken so early from us just makes me wonder the ways of the world.
    Bill was surely a character nothing else can be said. While the rest of us were on Xmas leave fm USASMA - Bill was at the hospital and wouldn't leave until they told him what was wrong - in the end he lost a kidney. What some folks don't know is that he went on three months later and destroyed the field in the USASMA Iron Man Competition. For those of us who had the pleasure, feel honored; for those who didn't, you missed a legend and know all the stories to be true.
    Frank McFadden
    CSM (R)
    Pres Chp 38

  3. Bill Barchers and Mike Jefferson were two of the hardest, best men I've known & worked with - don't understand how we lost both far too early in life. That's saying a lot given how good the men are in our SF brotherhood. Bill and I spent a lot of time together at JTF-6 and he was a unique soul - things that stand out are how light he packed on TDY trips & how laid back he was with friends & family. This was a tough warrior!
    Joe Stepp
    LTC (Ret.), SF

  4. Lily Barchers (Bill Barchers' daughter)May 26, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    The world will never be as good as it was with him here. I know he must must have been an amazing soldier, but that wasn't the kind of things he talked about to me. Instead, he would go on for hours about politics and religion and morals, and would always tell me that there was nothing more important that knowing your own values. Some of the things he said were really deep, too, and I keep catching myself quoting him. It's just little things, like "The difference between pride and arrogance is accomplishment", and we all know that my dad had a lot to be proud of.
    And although I didn't get to spend as much time with him as I would have hoped, although he'll never be there to give me advice when I become old enough to vote, or congratulate me on graduating from high school or getting into college, or walk me down the aisle when I get married, no one could ever ask for a better father.
    He'll be having a proper military funeral on July 4th weekend at fort Leavensworth, hosted by his children.

  5. When i was in High School SGM Barchers was the Army Instructor at my School in Naples, FL. I Knew him and he was my hero. When i told him I was going to join the Army he told me what he told all of us "please go to collage, if you work with me i will get you into collage". He knew what my Family was going through because he always knew what was happening with his students. I didn't think i would make it in collage so I didn't take his advice. Even though I wouldn't listen to him he helped me enlist, even though I was ignoring all his advice he helped, just because I asked and he wanted to make sure I was going to be alright. Because that's the kind of man he was and that's the kind of man I want to be. I've been in the Army almost a year now, and I've always been bad at keeping in touch with friends and haven't talked to any of my friends from school scene i joined the army, until today. I tried to give him a call. I wanted to tell him how I've been, what I've done and here some of his advice, but his phone was disconnected so I called an old friend from class who still lives in Naples to find out what his new number is. And hes dead. I'm on the other side of the Earth and my Hero, my Teacher, the closest thing I ever had to a Father, is dead Here's to you Pops, and your dirty jokes,

  6. This guy was my teacher for my first two years of high school in hawaii, I could literally go on for hours about what a awesome and great this guy is. He is unreal in every sense, this guy has changed my life in some many ways. I think about his lectures everyday, and hope to pass on a little bit of what he taught me. He will be missed

  7. SGM Barchers went out of his way to help me while I was researching Active Shooter Response guidelines. He provided me with some great feedback and information based on his own research and experience. I'm sad to see another Warrior pass on.

  8. I met SGM Barchers when I was a freshman at kapaa high school, going to my first day of JROTC. I remember walking into that class, and seeing a hulking mass of a man, it was his first year running JROTC, and he made sure we knew it haha. No one knew who this guy was, all we knew was if R. Lee Ermey from Full metal jacket was on steroids that would describe SGM. He whipped us all into shape, and showed us the ropes yea he would yell and make us do some wicked PT, but once we got to know him there isn't a single student including myself to be more honored to have met such an amazing and badass person to look up to. He created a family in our school, and if we needed someone to talk to, to push us in the right direction (even if it required a kick) SGM was the man for the job. He pushed us all to be the best that we could be. I am proud to say that he was my role model, he inspired so many, he was another father to us all, and he was without a doubt one of the greatest men I have ever known. He will never be forgotten. Rest in piece SGM.


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