Robert Russell Barnett, Missing in Action, Vietnam, April 7, 1966

Robert Russell Barnett

Captain

Unit: 8th Bomber Squadron

Date of Birth: 5-Oct-33
Date of Death: 7-Apr-66
City: Gladewater
State: TX

Notes: Captain Barnett was a member of the 8th Bomber Squadron. On April 7, 1966, he was the pilot of a Martin Canberra Bomber (B-57B) on a mission over Laos when his aircraft crashed from hostile fire. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial. For more information see: http://www.vvmf.org/thewall/Wall_Id_No=2570

Did you know Robert Russell Barnett? Did you serve with him? Did you wear his bracelet? Do you have a story of him or photo to share?  If you can answer yes to any of those questions, please leave a comment, so all can know that he has not been forgotten.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

R. Russell "Bear" Barnett was a fellow pilot and close friend of my father, Lt. Col Clayton White. They flew together in the Korean conflict. Bear returned to Vietnam after Korea, a decision that likely cost him his marriage with his wife Betty Sue. Bear was flying B57B missions in Laos, when an anti aircraft gun was secretly mobilized into a common flight pattern. Bear's aircraft was hit, killing his copilot/bombardier. Knowing the fate of his copilot and the likely fate of himself, Bear rolled the aircraft and targeted the anti aircraft gun site. It is understood by his fellow squadron members (the Doom Pussy squadron)that Bear successfully destroyed the gun site. To the end, a man worthy of our respect...a hero.

Donna said...

I was a kid living next door to Russell and Betty, back in San Antonio in the early sixties. He was just a guy next door to this 8-year-old girl who played with his kids.

I vaguely remember him as another nice guy/ dad on the block, who grilled and helped keep an eye on the neighborhood kids, as everyone did back then. I knew that later he and Betty had gotten divorced, which was a truly shocking thing back in the day, and that he'd gone back to Viet Nam. I think that even at the time, at my young age, I knew that there was a cause and effect.

My family heard later that he was MIA and presumed dead.

God bless those who give their lives in hopes of protecting freedom, and prayers to God that we will come up with some better way of doing this in the future.

Donna Nelson

Donna said...

Well, this is very frustrating, since I thought that I had already posted a comment. If this pops up twice, my apologies.

Russ Barnett was our next-door neighbor in San Antonio in the early 60's, along with Betty, D'Lynn, and I'm horribly embarrassed that I've forgotten the name of their other daughter; Debra, maybe??? I was all of 8 years old at the time, so I won't be able to provide the military-type info that y'all are probably looking for, but I remember Russ as a good neighbor, another neighborhood dad, just another guy grilling out in the back yard and helping keep track of the neighborhood rug rats. (This is a social role that is horribly undervalued and understocked these days.) I can't imagine how this came about, but they had a duck, and we had a semi-Lab named Sneezy who was absolutely fascinated by the duck and who spent a lot of highly-focused attention on said duck.

I think that maybe their marriage broke up while we were there? or soon after we were transferred --this would have been 1962-63-64, somewhere in there, or soon after. Russ and Betty were quite literally the first family that I ever knew that went through divorce, and we were completely shocked to hear about this. That's how life was back then, I guess. Even at the time (I was in 3rd grade), I sort of knew that it was related to him going back to active duty in VN.

So I can't contribute anything about his skills as a pilot, or as an officer, or as anything else military-related, but I will always remember him as just another good-natured dad who helped keep an eye on the neighborhood rug rats (and ducks), and who knew how to fire up a charcoal grill.

God bless those who gave their lives, and God bless their families, and also pray to God that we will find some other way of keeping people from being killed by the bad guys by having them killed by the good guys instead. :-(

And do remember that whatever you do in your military role, you're just as likely to be remembered as the guy next door with the duck and the boat.

Peace, y'all.

The Reptile Guy said...

Donna,

Thanks so much for sharing your memories. It is very important that we not forget. You have kept his memory alive in such a wonderful way.

Debra Coffey said...

This is Debra, Bear Barnett's youngest daughter. I was 10 when Daddy was killed. I remember your Dad and Mom. Today, April 16, 2016, my children and I attended an update from the DOD of daddy's crash site. They have objects of life support, found his co-pilot's dog tag and have other inventory, from the B-57. They are still excavating, it is a huge debris field. They believe it will take several more trips and excavations to complete. We are forever grateful to the men and women who are working to bring him home. Please feel free to contact me: Debra Coffey
817-307-4992
DCoffey@smartstartinc.com

Debra Coffey said...

This is Debra, Bear Barnett's youngest daughter. I was 10 when Daddy was killed. I remember your Family. Today, April 16, 2016, my children and I attended an update from the DOD of daddy's crash site. They have objects of life support, found his co-pilot's dog tag and have other inventory, from the B-57. They are still excavating, it is a huge debris field. They believe it will take several more trips and excavations to complete. We are forever grateful to the men and women who are working to bring him home. Please feel free to contact me: Debra Coffey
817-307-4992
DCoffey@smartstartinc.com

Debra Coffey said...

This is Debra, Bear Barnett's youngest daughter. I was 10 when Daddy was killed. I remember your Dad and Mom. Today, April 16, 2016, my children and I attended an update from the DOD of daddy's crash site. They have objects of life support, found his co-pilot's dog tag and have other inventory, from the B-57. They are still excavating, it is a huge debris field. They believe it will take several more trips and excavations to complete. We are forever grateful to the men and women who are working to bring him home. Please feel free to contact me: Debra Coffey
817-307-4992
DCoffey@smartstartinc.com

Debra Coffey said...

This is Debra, Bear Barnett's youngest daughter. I was 10 when Daddy was killed. I remember your Family. Today, April 16, 2016, my children and I attended an update from the DOD of daddy's crash site. They have objects of life support, found his co-pilot's dog tag and have other inventory, from the B-57. They are still excavating, it is a huge debris field. They believe it will take several more trips and excavations to complete. We are forever grateful to the men and women who are working to bring him home. Please feel free to contact me: Debra Coffey
817-307-4992
DCoffey@smartstartinc.com

Debra Coffey said...

OUR DADDY IS COMING HOME! Yesterday afternoon, my sister and I were contacted by the Air Force, with news we have been waiting on for 50 years, our Daddy is Coming Home. On April 7, 1966, Captain Robert R. Barnett “Bear” was flying a B-57 on a classified mission, he was shot down in hostile fire and was classified as Killed in Action-Non-recovered. I was 9, my sister was 11. In January 2005, 10 years ago, the DOD recovery teams determined his crash site and began the effort to provide any possible accounting and identification of our father and his navigator.

Captain Robert R. Barnett, USAF, has been officially identified and will be returned for burial. We are grateful to the Air Force, the members of the recovery effort that have worked the last 10 years to make this accounting and identification possible, the National League of POW/MIA families whose sole purpose is to obtain the release of all prisoners, the fullest possible accounting for the missing and repatriation of all recoverable remains.

My sister and I meet with the Air Force on January 6th, to be debriefed and make plans for his funeral service. We wanted to share our families exciting news, which is full of emotion, tears and joy. #GodBlessAmerica #neverforgotten #blessed.

If you knew my Dad, flew with him , or have a remembrance, please contact me.

Debra Coffey
817-307-4992
DCoffey@smartstartinc.com

Jim H. said...

Debra,

Sometimes it takes a while for prayers to be answered. I hope you and your family find some peace in putting your father's remains to rest. God bless you and your family, America, and especially your father.

Jim