Bruce Leander Barnes
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Mother, Mrs. Ethel Barnes
|DATE OF BIRTH:
6/5/1942 – 1946
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Bruce Barnes was born in Franklin County, New York, the son of Chateugay Leander and Ethel Barnes. Little is known about his pre-war life in the small town on the Canadian border; the Barnes family had a farm on Lake Street a short distance outside the town, and when not attending school Bruce and his siblings probably helped with the daily running of the business. Bruce had completed high school and was probably helping on the farm full time when Pearl Harbor was attacked.
Barnes enlisted in the Marine Corps on June 5, 1942, and was sent to Parris Island for boot camp with the Fifth Recruit Battalion. He had further training at MCB Quantico where he showed an aptitude for ordinance, earning a promotion to Private First Class and a spot on the instructor’s roster in October. By the new year, he was serving with Company D, First Separate Battalion at New River as an ammunition technician – a new role made more difficult with the news of Leander Barnes’ death on January 3, 1943.
Dog Company was a heavy weapons outfit, specializing in water-cooled .30 caliber machine guns and 81mm mortars – the support weapons of the infantry battalion. As an ordinance specialist, Barnes was often stationed with the company headquarters, though most of his duties revolved around the projectiles needed by the mortars. With seven pounds of high explosive apiece the mortar shells packed quite a wallop; the safe handling, loading, and transport of the bombs was the responsibility of Bruce Barnes. This task was dangerous but not without its rewards; within ten months of joining the company, Barnes was rated as a sergeant.
In the following year, Sergeant Barnes participated in the invasions of Namur, Saipan, and Tinian. In each, he followed the prescribed duties of his MOS:
Performs various supervisory and technical tasks incident to the procurement, storage, distribution, handling, transportation, and care of all types of munitions used by ground forces, including explosives and pyrotechnics. May salvage or destroy unserviceable munitions. Must be thoroughly familiar with small arms and artillery ammunition, grenades, and mines. Must know uses, hazards and safety precautions, and methods of handling, cleaning, storing, and otherwise processing munitions. Must know ordnance ammunition identification code system. Must have general familiarity with publications containing information on munitions.
However, he fell ill or was injured in the fall of 1944, and following a recuperative stay at a Navy hospital in Hawaii, Barnes was transferred back to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. From there, he traveled to Scotia, New York, and served out the rest of the war with the local Naval Supply Depot.
Bruce Barnes married Helen Arthur and began a family in Lyon Mountain, New York, just a few miles from his hometown in Chateaugay. However, one of his sons died in infancy, and Helen passed away in 1956. Though Barnes remarried (to Helen Hamilton at an unknown date), he too would die fairly young, in 1968.
Barnes is buried in East Side Cemetery, Chateaugay, New York.