Captain George Albert "Al" Barnes (1915-1979) was born August 11, 1915 to Henry Evert and Jennie Ida Nord Barns in Edwardsville, Illinios. As a babe in arms the family moved to California where Henry worked in the oil industry in the boom town of Fellows, California. Later the family moved to Ventura, California where George became an avid body surfer. Later moving to Taft, California where he graduated from Taft Union High School and completed his Bachelor of Arts at Taft Junior College. He and his father founded the Barnes and Barnes Real Estate and Insurance business in Taft  based on his broker's license. He married Johnette Henrici in 1938. When he enlisted in the Army Air Corps on 24 June 1942 he was twenty-seven and the father of two children. His crew later called him the "Old Man." Preflight was at Santa Ana, California - Primary at King City, California - Basic at Chino, California - Advanced at Stockton Field, California - PBY transition training at Pensacola, Florida -  and Navigation at Selma, Louisiana. While he was in Pensacola for the "Catalina" qualification. Al was a passenger in a car wreck that caused a pretty substantial scar on his right cheek. That turned out to be the only injury he sustained while in the service! He earned both the Army Air Corps wings and Naval Aviator's wings, graduating from class 43-C on the 10 March 1943. Other graduates from this class that were members of the 2nd ERS were Jarvis T. Yagla and Charles F. "Chuck" Tully. Al did not fly an aircraft from California to New Guinea, rather leaving on the 30 April 1944 he was a passenger on the M.S. Roseville [see the complete roster] with the rest of the ground echelon. The ship arrived at Milne Bay, New Guinea on 28 May 1944.

Al served in the Pacific theater with the Second Emergency Rescue Squadron as a pilot and Operation's Officer. He flew Eighty-Four (84) combat missions and over six hundred thirty (630) hours of flight time. [see certificate] He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal [see the letter written to his wife] with 5 oak leaf clusters [1st, 2nd, 3rd Air Medal][4th][5th] and noted for gallantry while overseas. One notable rescue mission took seventeen (17) hours to accomplish and ended with being fired upon by their own troops which necessitated a twenty (20) mile circle to land! Al was sent home in June 1945 due to not being rehabilitated from his one leave in Sydney. [see Medical Certificate]

...Al wore a pair of his wife's nylons around his neck when he flew, for good luck. The crew always made sure he had those nylons on before they took off! He said those nylons were green with mold when he finally got back stateside!

fter returning home he continued his career in Taft as a business owner. He enjoyed hobbies of golf, fishing, hunting, and watching pretty much any sport and was a member of the Kiwanis Club and the BPOE. He and Johnette had three children; a daughter Ann and two sons, Ralph and Daniel. They were supporters of Taft and participated in many civic functions. They built a home on  sixty (60) acres in Cuyama Valley and enjoyed good times with family and friends there. Al passed away on the 19 November 1979 in Taft at the age of sixty-four (64) of heart failure. His beloved wife Johnette joined him in 2001.

[See all of Al Barnes' Personnel Records...]

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