The main protagonist, Capt. Dahl (Callsign: Barbie) is the physical embodiment of almost every disparaging fighter pilot stereotype. He is egotistical, self-absorbed and incredibly vain. He feels fighter pilots are among the highest class of people, and that his status as one trumps any rank above his own.
He is a Captain and flies an F-15 "Eagle".
Little is known about Dahl’s past at this point. It has been revealed that he received his commission from the United States Air Force Academy.
Capt. Dahl also has a cousin, Meredith, who is a Civil Air Patrol cadet. Capt. Dahl and she have not spoken to each other since one of Dahl's colleagues at flight school insulted Dahl's suitability to be a fighter pilot by bringing Meredith to a squadron party. Meredith communicates to SSgt Coffman on a Facebook site.
Capt. Dahl was recently deployed to Kamul Air Base, Asskrakistan and served for six months. Upon his arrival, he found that the F-15 fleet had been grounded, and he never got to fly any sorties, working instead in public affairs, junior to enlisted personnel. Also, during this time, several of his peers played a practical joke on him, filling his shampoo bottle with hair removal cream. He lost all his hair, and feared that he'd become seriously ill. He even told his mother that he was dying, until his peers revealed the trick.
After his tour at Kamul, he returned to Elmendork Air Force Base, where he found that the fleet hadn't been grounded, and he missed out on all the action. To make matters worse, he'd been transferred to Creech AFB in Nevada, home station of the USAF's MQ-9 "Reaper" UAVs.
Dahl feared that he was to be relegated to flying unmanned 'toys' at Creech, but upon arrival, he learned that he was to join a Reaper team as a flight instructor - with the caveat that he'd never actually meet them face to face. This 'Operation Radio Flyer.' This story arc introduced "RC", the Reaper pilot, and "Swivel", the Sensor Officer of Dahl's team. It also introduces a (presumably) senior briefing officer who remains unnamed.
At Creech, everything was classified 'above' Top Secret. Personnel were required to mask their rank and names.
"Barbie" and "Bert", a fellow Eagle driver assigned to teach the Reaper pilots maneuvers at Creech, were reassigned for a Top Secret mission in the Nevada desert working for "Badger Ops" at Frost AFB . This Top Secret group is in charge of selecting and training a rare few Eagle drivers to intercept a fictional Russian UAV capable of slipping inside of US airspace undetected and releasing a nuclear payload. The squadron they have now been assigned to temporarily is the 69th Preemptive Nuclear Intercept Squadron (69th PNIS). (In a sign that some of Dahl's idiosyncracies are his own and not representative of fighter pilots in the story's USAF, Bert was not in the least oblivious as to the joke.) Dahl ended up interpreting a comment from their handler that their target was an F-4 "Phantom" used as a targeting drone, but it turned that it was actually a F-117 "Nighthawk", which secretly remains in service despite official retirement. The 69th PNIS exists as Papa Flight with the 809th FS, but because of its secrecy Dahl doesn't get any credit for his accomplishments.
He pinned on Captain on 1 August 2009, but forgot his pin on date, and was called out on being out of uniform by SSgt Coffman.
Barbie was recently certified on the F-22 "Raptor".