Sergeant Major Barbaralien Banks was born on July 26, 1963 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was the oldest of five siblings. She moved to Alabama to live with her grandmother and returned to Louisiana when she was 13, later graduating from Alfred Lawless High School in New Orleans.
SGM Banks earned master’s degrees in business management and computer information system management at Webster University.
SGM Banks enlisted in the US Army in 2008. SGM Banks served as a Food Management Supervisor and was due to return from Afghanistan in only two months at the time of the accident. One of her sisters, SFC Cassandra Jeanpierre, was stationed in Kuwait at the same time. Another sibling serves in the Marine Corps. Barbaralien is survived by her two, grown children: a son, Kent Kelly, and a daughter, Lashuwnta Kelly; her mother, Sylvia Clofer; three brothers, Tommy and Victorian Williams and Fred Clofer; two sisters, Cassandra Bradley and Vanessa Day; and three grandchildren.
Maj. Dewey Mosley, Banks’ supervisor, said she had volunteered to fix a problem in the field, putting her on the flight. Sgt. Christian Monk said Banks was a strong female role model: “I hope to take what I have learned from her and pass it on to my soldiers.”