Cecil E. Barrette worked as an electrical engineer in Illinois and California and served with distinction in the Signal Corps of the United States Army, earning a Bronze Star during World War II and rising to the rank of Colonel before his from the Army in 1965.
Barrette graduated with a B.S. in from South Dakota State University in 1927 and joined the Illinois Bell Telephone Company. For nearly a decade, he worked as a transmission tester.
In 1937, he moved to the Illinois Bell Engineering Department in Chicago, where he designed special circuits, power plant systems, and toll terminal equipment. He would subsequently be appointed Costs Engineer in the Plant Extension Division of the Chief Engineer's Department and Radio Engineer in Charge of Television, Systems, Mobile Radios, and Special Applications of Communication.
Barrette served as a Captain during World War II, serving as Commanding Officer for Detachment No. 3, 805th Signal Service Company, from July 1943 to September 1944. He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for developing new procedures for telephone service between Algiers, Washington, D.C., and London, and was in charge of the maintenance and operation of the SIGSALY system. He was also recommended for the Legion of Merit; however, this medal was not authorized for African campaigns during that period. Between March and September 1945, he served in the Military Intelligence Division of the War Department.
In October 1946, Barrette was promoted to Major in the United States Army, and he was subsequently promoted to Liutenant Colonel in May 1949. In March 1961, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel, serving as the Assistant Chief of Research at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He retired as Colonel in February 1965.
In December 1961, Barrette transferred to Western Electric Company in California, working in Engineering and Senior Quality Service. He retired from Western Electric in January 1970.