Holding the ‘Keys to Kingdom’

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs
Buildings need doors. Doors need locks. Locks need keys. That's where locksmith Barry Yuill comes in.

During his career, Yuill has seen it all. Three years ago he had to install new locks on each of the 900 dorm rooms at Robins.

He has fixed combinations on safes, made thousands of keys and even rescued a woman trapped in a vault.

"It's never dull," he said. "The days go by crazy fast."

And, they should, seeing as he's the only locksmith on base. 

Yuill is in charge of locks on buildings, but he's also responsible for all of the secure safes and vaults - of which there are hundreds.

General Service Administration containers, or safes, are required to be free of stickers and have only five colors. That is to ensure the device hasn't been tampered with, Yuill explained.

Classified documents must be kept in safes or vaults which are inspected every two years. 

Yuill also attends a certification course every two years to keep his knowledge of the locksmith business in tip-top shape. That allows him to work on each new type of safe that's ordered as well as previous versions.

There's an office where Yuill keeps his key-making supplies although he's in his customized box truck about 80 percent of the time. 

Everything he can do in his office, he can do on the spot with the tools in his truck. The truck allows him to be mobile and to make repairs without going back to an office.

"It saves time and I can get more done," Yuill said.

His truck is outfitted with a customized cart that he uses for on-the-job work. When he works on safes or vaults that cannot be moved, this is the best way for him to correct the situation without leaving it.

The majority of his time is spent rekeying locks but sometimes the locksmith has to stop what he is doing for an emergency.

"Anything that is life threatening or that can stop the mission is an emergency," Yuill said.