Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Air Forces Veteran Joel R. Barton Jr., who served during World War II as a flight instructor.
After graduating from Big Lake High School in 1934, Joel R. Barton Jr. attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. He studied ranch management and was a member of the college football team. He also was in the A&M Reserve Officer Training Corps, where he was commissioned as a Reserve infantry officer. After college, Barton returned to his family’s ranch to start farming.
The Army called him to service in 1938. He went to Sacramento, California, to learn how to fly planes and later took advanced flight training. When the war started in December 1941, Barton was at West Point in New York and became a flight instructor for cadets at the U.S. Military Academy. He trained pilots to fly T-6 Texans and B-25 bombers. Barton later transferred back to California and escorted headquarter personnel to the Santa Ana Army Air Base from Balboa Island in Newport Beach. One of his most memorable experiences during this time was flying a plane up to San Francisco with a colonel and flying underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.
Barton discharged as a captain from the Army Air Forces in January 1946. He returned to Calvert, Texas and worked in farming at his family’s ranch. He later took a job working with soldiers returning from the war, teaching postwar skills. Barton also worked at Texas A&M University, teaching electrical welding. He and his wife Betty, both alumni of A&M, were involved in the A&M Legacy Society, which financially supports students at the university.
Barton passed away in May 2018. He was 103 years old.
We honor his service.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Sarah Concepcion
Editor: Michaela Yesis
Fact checker: Alexander Nordahl
Graphic artist: Brittany Schultz