AMONG the hundreds of eyes which have been peering over the vast southern Indian Ocean looking for ill-fated Malaysian airliner MH370 is former Warrnambool resident Warrant Lieutenant Mick Barker.
The 46-year-old is an electronics analyst with the Australian Air Force tasked with using sophisticated equipment to detect clues that could lead searchers to the aircraft and help solve one of aviation’s most baffling mysteries.
Hopes were buoyed yesterday when signals were detected consistent with those emitted by black box flight recorders.
Warrant Lieutenant Barker has been a familiar face on television news clips in the past two weeks.
His parents Ken and Glenda Barker, of Warrnambool, told The Standard yesterday they were proud of their son’s 12-year stint in the air force.
“It’s something he’s always wanted to do since school days,” Mrs Barker said.
“He’s been to Iraq twice and once to Afghanistan.
“The family was a bit worried about his war zone service, but that’s what he loves doing.
“He was working long hours looking for the missing plane and is back in Adelaide on a short break before returning to Western Australia to rejoin the search.”
His career path into defence service had several detours before he enlisted at 35 years old. After finishing school at the former CBC Warrnambool, he worked at several jobs, drove speedway cars and played football for Russells Creek.
“He realised he needed to brush up on maths and physics, so he studied at home before enlisting,” his mother said.
“In entrance exams and others that followed he scored marks of over 95.
“We and others in his family are very proud of him.”