LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Jack Barnes, 92, stared at a photo of himself from almost sixty years ago. It was taken when Barnes entered the military. At that time, Barnes had plans to serve his required year and come home as soon as possible. However, two months before his year was up, the unthinkable happened.
"The Japs bombed Pearl Harbor and they said, "That'll be all, you're not going nowhere," Barnes said.
Therefore, Barnes prepared for the battle ahead at Fort Benning in Georgia. Barnes endured grueling training, all under General George Patton.
"We lived in tents. We had some brand new barracks, but he didn't let us go near them. He kept us in the field for training," Barnes said.
From there, Barnes embarked on a three-year journey, traveling the globe as an Army technician.
"We made the first invasion the American troops made and that was the invasion of Africa," Barnes said.
Barnes was on the frontline of the battle and once they accomplished their goals there, his division headed to Tunisia, where they docked for a month. Barnes was able to explore the city while he was there.
"They had camel races and a big to do and while I was there I saw the prettiest thing that I had seen in a long time and I bought it and sent it to my girlfriend," Barnes said.
That girlfriend ended up being Barnes' wife, Uta. She was his high school sweetheart and he carried her picture everywhere he traveled. Barnes sent her a beautiful bedspread he found that day in Tunisia and he still has it to this day.
From there, his division headed to Sicily, England and finally the battle of Normandy.
"After we invaded Sicily, we sat there for a while and I thought we were going to go over to Italy, but we went to England and started training for the invasion of Normandy"
On June 6th of 1944, Barnes witnessed history during the invasion of Normandy with General Patton leading the way.
"A good general, but we called him General Blood and Guts, our blood his guts," said Barnes.
Decades later, scenes from the frontlines are still fresh in his mind.
"I won't talk about all the bloody parts and the good nice people that got killed and didn't come back," Barnes said.
During the battle, there were moments Barnes thought he'd be one of those that wouldn't come home.
"The last few days I was in combat, I got a real weird feeling, like I'm not going to make it, I'm not going to make it and they call that battle fatigue," Barnes said.
However, Barnes was determined to make it home to his high school sweetheart, Uta, who's picture traveled with him through every trench and fox hole.
"You know how to protect yourself, but you still get a knot in your stomach as big as your fist," Barnes said.
Because of his bravery, Barnes was honored with the distinguished Purple Heart and Silver Star.
"We were in France when I got hit below the leg with a piece of shrapnel; the kid next to me got killed," Barnes said.
Before the war was over, Barnes was allowed to come home and begin his life with Uta. However, he says given the chance, he would do it all over again today.
"If I could go help them today, I would. I know the feeling. I know when you're jumping off into combat and you don't know if you're going to get killed," Barnes said