In Memory of
U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt.
Ben Butler Barnes
Miller, South Dakota
Hand County
January 19,1921 -‑ December 5, 1944
Killed in Action over Berlin, Germany

 Ben Butler Barnes

Ben B. Barnes was born on January 19,1921, in Miller, South Dakota. He was the son of Herman D. Barnes and Grace B. Barnes. Ben attended Miller High School until his graduation in 1939. Ben, along with fellow classmates Leo Nolz and Virgil Parker, is honored for his bravery with the GIB Thomas Award given by the school each year to an outstanding senior athlete.

Mr. Barnes went on to graduate from West Point Military Academy in 1943. After entering the Air Force in 1943, he became second lieutenant of the 361st Fighter Squadron, 356 Fighter Group stationed in England.

Lt. Ben B. Barnes died in action over Berlin, Germany, on December 5, 1944. In a letter from the War Department dated December 6, 1945, specific details were revealed that Lt. Barnes was “the sole occupant of a P-51 (Mustang) aircraft which failed to return from a ramrod operational mission to Berlin, Germany. The aircraft was last sighted in the area of the target as it led its element in an attack against enemy aircraft. When last sighted, the aircraft was being attacked by enemy aircraft….”                      

Lt. Barnes gave his life for his country and for this reason he will be forever honored with his name on a monument in the US National Cemetery in Cambridge, England. He was awarded the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Kristen Simons and Jackie Barnes, 11th
Grade, Miller High School, Miller, South Dakota, January 4, 2002. Information for this entry was provided by an application for a SD veteran’s bonus payment and by Mrs. Thom Anderson, via Lora Vejohn, CVSO for Hand Co.