Huntington, WV Black History

David Parker Barnes Sr.

33 Degree Mason and Past Grand Master

David Parker Barnes Sr. was a World War II veteran who was a well-known mechanic who owned his own business in Fairfield during his later years.

Barnes was born on November 18, 1920 in Dora, Alabama. He moved to Huntington and graduated from Douglass High School in 1939. Shortly after graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy at the rank of Navy Steward. He served aboard the USS Yorktown and was involved in the Battle of Midway.

The following is from the archives of Levi Martin, a family friend of Barnes: “On the night of June 4, 1942, the USS Yorktown was hit by Japanese torpedoes, leaving the ship defenseless. The entire crew abandoned ship. The vessel was still afloat, and the captain asked for 150 volunteers to go back aboard to help get her seaworthy. Barnes was nominated by Admiral Chester Nimitz to go back to help.” When Barnes was asked if there was anything that stood out in his mind during his time in the military, he answered, “Yes, I was in the area when the Marines raised the flag on Iwo Jima. It was a proud moment for me.”

Barnes retired in 1983 from the International Nickel Company where he was employed as a machinist. He was a well-known mechanic in the Fairfield community and one of the first Black automobile and air-conditioning specialists in the area. He worked at Barrack, Justice Supply, and Ira Taylor before he opened his own garage. He was a 33rd Degree Mason and Past Grand Master. He also was a member of Young Chapel A.M.E. Church in Fairfield.

 

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