Jack Randal Barnes, who initiated honor flights to Washington, D.C., to enable veterans to visit memorials to wars in which they fought, died Dec. 28 in Amarillo.
He was 68.
Barnes, who was a native of Perryton, took a leadership role in community efforts to honor veterans by organizing flights for those who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
He was himself a veteran who had enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1971, and served until 1975. Following separation from the Navy, he attended West Texas A&M University, where he received a bachelor of business degree in 1978. After college, he returned to the Navy and served until 1995 before retiring with the rank of chief petty officer.
He has served as a member of the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Aviation Committee, and was a founder of the Texas Aviation Historical Society.
Barnes was known across the Panhandle and West Texas for his work as an organizer of honor flights for veterans. His first flight, which left Amarillo in September 2008, provided an expense-paid, three-day trip to Washington for those who had served. In 2012, the Panhandle Honor Flight was chosen as the Premier Honor Flight in America.
In 2013, he joined the Board of Directors of the American Fallen Warrior Memorial Foundation, and supported the organization’s mission to build a National War on Terror Memorial and Museum in Kansas City, Kansas.
He recently was active in a project designed to obtain a Congressional Gold Medal for those who survived the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis in World War II, and was a friend to Cleatus Lebow of Memphis, Texas, who was among the survivors.
Barnes was a member of the Texas Navy Association, and led Amarillo’s Loop 335 Highway Project that designated the loop as Veterans Highway.
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