Courtesy of his classmates
United States Military Academy, Class of 1946
15761 Barnett, David E.
April 29, 1924 – January 23, 1998
David Eugene Barnett, Jr. * '46
No. 15761 * 29 Apr 1924 – 23 Jan 1998
Died in Alexandria, Virginia
Inurned in Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium,
Dave was an “Army Brat” which accounted for his birth in Honolulu, Hawaii. After spending his youth at various Army Posts with his father, Dave attended and graduated from Darlington Academy, Georgia. He was in his second year at Clemson University, his father's alma mater, when he gained his coveted appointment to West Point. Dave joined the Class of 1946 on the banks of the Hudson on 1 July 1943.
Dave knew what to expect as a cadet and had no real problems, academically or with the system. Roommate, Jack Bodie, remembered: “You could not find a finer roommate than Dave. He could laugh at anything, including you. As plebes, we were on the boxing team together. I think he weighed in at about 125 pounds, but they didn't call him tiger for nothing, and nothing could dampen his spirit.” Dave graduated a second lieutenant in the Infantry.
Following his basic Infantry schooling at Fort Benning, Georgia, Dave was assigned to the 71st Infantry, 3rd Division at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. It was during this assignment that Dave married Kathleen Hall on 17 December 1949 at Clemson, South Carolina. In November 1950, he deployed with his unit to Korea where he earned the Combat Infantry Badge. In February 1951, he moved up to Headquarters, 3rd Division. It was back to the States for Dave for the Infantry Advanced Course at Ft. Benning. The Barnetts then moved to Vermont where Dave became Assistant PMS&T at the University of Vermont. In 1955, the Barnetts traveled to Germany where Dave was assigned to Seventh Army. It was back to the States in 1957 for Dave's assignment to the 2nd Armored Division at Ft. Hood, Texas. Then in 1960, Dave attended the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. This was followed by a short tour to Korea for Dave with the 7th Logistical Command.
Returning to the States, Dave was assigned to the Military District of Washington. In 1965, he became advisor to the Venezuelan Military Academy in Caracas. The Barnetts returned to the States for Dave's assignment to the Army General Staff from which he retired in 1968 as a Lieutenant. Colonel.
Following retirement, Dave became Chief, Manpower & Allocations Branch, Army Material Command (AMC), Washington, DC. He served with AMC until retiring in 1988. In retirement, Dave and Kathleen continued to live in their home in Alexandria, Virginia. Dave was a very active golfer, bridge player and swimmer. He was also active in his local civic associations.
Dave died 23 January 1998 from complications of lung disease. His loving wife, Kathleen, and sons, David III and Mark survive him.
Dave Barnett was special. Loved and respected by family, friends and classmates, he was a warm and caring person, a loving and devoted husband and father.
Classmate George Hall remembered: “Although we were in the same cadet company, we never served together. It wasn't until after retirement – in the 70s – that I met Dave at the Ft Belvoir Golf Course, where we soon formed a regular foursome. A number of years later, the group was increased to ten or twelve still meeting three days a week. Even in inclement weather, the group would meet at the clubhouse and play bridge or cribbage. Dave was competent at both card games as well as golf.
“In the spring, we would often travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to enjoy its myriad golf courses and its weather. Being basically a South Carolinian, we always deferred
completely to Dave's local knowledge as to where we would stay, eat, courses to play and sights to see. He never failed us. Dave had a delightful sense of humor. Additionally, he was extremely fluent in Spanish. Occasionally he would combine these talents by regaling us with witticisms in Spanish, some of which were double entendres in that language. Dave was a true southern gentleman in every sense of the term. He was always a gracious host, a joy to be with and a wonderful, irreplaceable friend. I shall miss him dearly.”
Friend, Bob Estes, recalled: “Dave and I started playing golf in the same foursome with George Hall in 1973 and continued to play until a few weeks before his death. At each of our golf outings over the years, Dave had a new joke to tell. His jokes were funny and always the highlight of the match. Dave was a good man, deliberate, upright, forthright and decent. I miss him!”
Jack Bodie: “I'll never forget Dave and only regret that we didn't cross paths often enough after graduation. My loss – now our loss!”
Dave epitomized what a West Pointer should represent. The Class of 1946 proudly adds to the thoughts of his family and friends, those words that would mean so much to him: “Well Done, Dave; Be Thou At Peace!
'46 Memorial Article Project and his wife, Kathleen
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard