CAMP SHELBY, MS (WDAM) - Camp Shelby officials, the US Coast Guard and local veterans groups have honored a 92-year-old, terminally-ill World War Two veteran from Clarksdale who has donated his uniform and other military memorabilia to the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum. Friday morning, a special commemoration ceremony was held in honor of Petty Officer First Class William A. Barnes.
Barnes served as an anti-aircraft gunner on a Coast Guard cutter in the Pacific and was credited with shooting down three enemy planes and assisting in the downing of two others.
"I feel like this is kind of the climax of my career and association with the United States Coast Guard and I just feel like it just closes the book, so to speak, on all these 70 years I've been talking Coast Guard," said Barnes.
The commanding officer for the U.S. Coast Guard base in New Orleans was among those praising Barnes for his military service.
"Through your service and your time and your efforts, you've embodied our core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty," said Capt. Jon Gage.
"(Mr. Barnes) needed this day," said Chad Daniels, museum director. "We wanted to provide that to him and we're happy to do it," he said.
An exhibit featuring Barnes' uniform, a photo of his ship and a biography of his military service is currently on display in the lobby of the museum.