Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Barry's History

My early years were enjoyed in Yorktown, VA. My parents and sister, Janet, were wonderful and supportive. Like most of our class, I was a reasonably good athlete and student, a big fish in a pretty small pond. After a year at Lynchburg College with complete freedom and a casual life, I joined others at the ramp and wondered “What the hell have I done?”


The first night, my roomie, Barry White, asked if I intended to stay. I told him after enduring this first day “I certainly wasn't leaving!” I vividly remember the Commandant telling us in a lecture hall that we would be bound together for life by our common bond of misery this first year. I thought, “What a helluva reason to be bound together – our common bond of misery.” He was pretty much correct.

The Academy was a very rewarding challenge for me. I learned from roommates Harley Walker, Joel Aronoff, Alan Tuck, Raleigh Myhren, Chuck Handley, Don Heide, Terry Issacson, Harry Pearce, and others. I appreciated being a squadron commander, 2nd Group commander, and Honor Rep for 11th squadron. But most of all, I treasure the friendship of remarkable men who came from everywhere with talent, ethics, and abilities and who have contributed so very much to our country, to business, and to their communities.


After flight training at Moody AFB in Valdosta, GA, I flew C-130's and C-141's worldwide, C-130's in RVN from CCK in Taiwan, T-39's after AFIT while at the Pentagon, and C-130's and C-9's at Clark AB in the Philippines. I thoroughly enjoyed flying and travel, and felt like most of the time we were contributing to something worthwhile.

Several assignments were in analytical studies, which I found less exciting. I often thought the Air Force needed another study like a hole in the head. For two years I headed USAF Officer Retention at Randolph, and helped craft an honest briefing which we took to the field, trying to keep good people in the service.

My 24 years of service in USAF went by all too quickly. I've been in 65 countries, seen a lot of runways, and enjoyed a lot of local food and culture. Linda and I now visit some of these places for longer than a crewrest, and actually see and learn about places I'd been. The men and women with whom I worked are among the finest anywhere, and I am deeply proud of our work. Aside from our spiritual life, I know of no calling greater than service to our country.

I retired at Scott AFB in 1988 and reflect on a career that I enjoyed and hope was a contribution to the greatest country in the world.


While in northern Virginia, during a church service, I answered a challenge to volunteer at Lorton Prison, the District's federal prison, helping a small group of inmates improve their lives. A couple of nights a week for four years I met with the same guys as a friend. When my favorite inmate finished his sentence, we went into the trash business, hopefully to provide honest employment for him and others as they returned to society. The goal was to lower the 93% who return to prison. I bought two trucks, humped garbage many nights in DC with my partner, and learned a lot about the other side of the tracks.


At one point, I was introduced to Marriott's vacation program by their top Williamsburg saleswoman, who happened to be my wife, Linda. For the past 10 years I've worked for Marriott and thoroughly enjoy meeting with guests and helping them expand their vacation portfolio, with offers of travel in 2500 resorts, 3600 hotels, and 10 cruise companies around the world. It's a great program for vacation and travel that will enhance lives. Linda and I have used it productively for trips to Spain, France, Hawaii, Hong Kong, the Philippines, St. Kitts, St. Thomas, and Aruba, plus lots of the USA, as well as cruises in the Caribbean and to Alaska.


For many years I've been associated with the Amway Corporation and a remarkable group of business owners called Network 21. They represent true free enterprise. Some are rich, some not, but all have access to great products and a terrific company with the opportunity to build a business to whatever level they choose. I have been rewarded in personal growth, compassion for others, and an appreciation for what business contributes to our way of life.

Among many benevolent programs, Network 21 associates sponsor over 60,000 children via World Vision. I've sponsored kids for years, most of whom we never see, but we had the privilege to meet our young girl in Manila in 2008. We also partner with Free Wheelchair Mission, helping provide chairs to the 100 million who need them world-wide. We can build a chair and deliver anywhere in the world for under $60!!


Linda has been a godsend and a loyal friend. I've been blessed beyond measure with son Christopher and daughter Alicia, and her husband Olivier and their sons Charles and Henry. I'm also tremendously blessed with Linda's children, Matthew and Lacey. Linda and I enjoy West Palm Beach, a little travel, and a great group of friends. Linda recently gave me her favorite Tee shirt which probably depicts me as well as can be: it says “the older I get, the better I was.”


Often I reflect on life and have concluded that we, classmates, are no better than anyone else, but we are a lot better than we would have been if we had not had the USAFA experience.

Barry L. Barnes
March 2011
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