Master Sergeant (Ret.) Barbara McFarland entered the U.S. Air Force in February of 1977. After graduation from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, she received an assignment to the 2162nd Communications Sauadron at Buckley Air National Guard Base, Colorado. After almost four years in the communications field she voluntarily retrained into education and training. Other assignments include Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina; Sembach Air Base, Germany; and Hill Air Force Base, Utah where she later retired. While serving in the military McFarland said she was active in the role women played in the Air Force. She notes that today, roles have evolved and jobs women weren't able to enlist in are now open to both genders.
McFarland's service to her community didn't end when she retired. She currently serves multiple roles within the Boy Scouts of America. Due to her involvement within the scouts, she was honored to receive her Brotherhood membership from the Order of the Arrow, which honors those whom best exemplify the ideals of scouting.