Ensign Doyle Clayton Barnes, US NAVY
Namesake of USS Doyle C. Barnes DE 353
Ensign Barnes was born in Oeniville, Texas, 5 April 1912. At age 21, he enlisted in the US Navy at Houston, Texas, 20 October 1933, and served continuously from that date.
His USN service record shows his rate as Enlisted from 20 Oct 1933 to 19 Oct 1937. He was elevated to the rank of Officer 20 Oct 1937.
As a Warrant Machinist, he was designated Naval Aviator 21 March 1942, and was commissioned Ensign 25 June 1942, just two months before his death.
As an aviator, his first assignment was with Fighting Squadron Two (VF-2) based on USS LEXINGTON (CV-2). It is known that this fighting squadron aboard LEXINGTON in December 1941 consisted of
16 Brewster F2A-3 Buffalos. There is a probability this is the type plane piloted by Barnes.
From 1 April 1942 to 26 April 1942, Barnes and Cheek were detached for temporary additional duty with Fighter Six (VF-6) aboard the carrier USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6), and flew Combat Air Patrol (CAP) to cover the launch from USS HORNET (CV-8) of the historic Doolittle bomber raid on Japan on 18 April 1942.
In late April, Barnes, again with Tom Cheek, was attached for temporary additional duty to USS SARATOGA's Fighting Three (VF-3). The commander of VF-3 was the legendary fighter pilot Lieutenant Commander John S. "Jimmy" Thach. At this time, SARATOGA was still undergoing repairs for torpedo damage received off Hawaii the previous January.
After LEXINGTON was sunk in the Battle of the Coral Sea on 8 May 1942, Barnes, Tom Cheek and Jimmy Thach reported aboard USS YORKTOWN (CV-3), 30 May 1942, just before the Battle of Midway began. (Read the note from Tom Cheek)
YORKTOWN had also been damaged in the Battle of the Coral Sea and many pilots were lost. Therefore, Barnes and his fellow pilots aboard YORKTOWN were a composite Fighting Three (VF-3) which was itself part of a hastily assembled makeshift Air Group-5 aboard YORKTOWN. The composite Fighting Three assigned to YORKTOWN also included members of that carrier's own fighter squadron VF-42. Barnes was assigned to fly the F4F-4 "Wildcat", F-17, BuNo 5142 aircraft.
Flying off YORKTOWN at the Battle of Midway, Barnes was credited with downing 2 Japanese torpedo planes. VF-3 had 23 Wildcats involved in the fighting and they probably shot down 21 Japanese planes.
During the battle YORKTOWN was severly damaged and most returning pilots were diverted to USS ENTERPRISE or USS HORNET.
Following the lost of USS YORKTOWN at Midway, Barnes was assigned to USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6), as part of VF-6, where he fought in the Invasion of Guadalcanal 7-8 August. In this action he was credited with downing an enemy plane. The official USN record shows, "...An Enterprise pilot, Machinist D. C. Barnes of Fighting Squadron SIX, shot down a third Japanese observation plane within sighting distance of our force at about the same time. It was a single-float, single-engine aircraft..." He was posthumously awarded the Air Medal for his achievement.
Sixteen days later, 24 August, Ensign Barnes engaged the enemy in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. It was during this battle that Barnes was listed as MIA when his F4F-4 Wildcat was lost in the Pacific. He was declared officially dead on 25 August, 1942. He was credited with 3 victories at the time of his death.
Ensign Barnes is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines.
Mrs. Doyle C. Barnes, wife of Ensign Barnes sponsored the ship at the launching at Consolidated Steel Corp. Ltd., in Orange, Texas. Although Mrs. Barnes was unable to also attend the commissioning ceremony at Orange on 13 July 1944, the family was represented by Mr. and Mrs. Ross B. Barnes of Belton, Texas, parents of Ensign Barnes.
Personal Reflections of Tom Cheek
[Webmaster Note: Even though I obtained his USN service records, it is still difficult to piece together the complete service of Ensign Barnes. I relied upon his service record and other published data to compile his service history. Any additions or corrections to this information would be appreciated.
It is helpful for the reader to understand that USN pilots were initially assigned to a carrier and one of its squadrons. Later, the pilots were often assigned temporary duty aboard other carriers and made part of that carrier's squadron. This can make it difficult to locate where a pilot was stationed at a specific time.]
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