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Samuel Edward Barnes was born in Oberlin, Ohio, on January 25, 1915. After graduating from Oberlin High School, he majored in physical education at Oberlin College, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1939. He was employed in 1936 by Livingstone College, Salisbury, North Carolina and following graduation from Oberlin College returned there to be Director of Health and Physical Education. From 1941 to August 1942 he was Boys’ Work Director and Assistant Director of Physical Education with the Cincinnati and Hamilton County YMCA, after which he served as Assistant Director of Health Physical Education for North Carolina State College, Durham, North Carolina.
On October 2, 1942 he enlisted as Apprentice Seaman, US Naval Reserve. He was subsequently promoted as follows: Seaman Second Class, December 5, 1942; Seaman First Class, May 1, 1943; Specialist Third Class (C), August 10, 1943; and Specialist First Class (C), January 3, 1944. Commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve on February 24, 1944, he was promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade), to date from July 1, 1945.
After receiving his commission in 1944 he was assigned to the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois, and in May 1945 transferred to the Naval Training and Distribution Center, Camp Perry, Williamsburg, Virginia. He remained there until September 1945, then reported as Division Officer of Logistic Support Company #64, based in the Pacific area. On January 26, 1946 he was released from active duty and on October 15, 1954 was honorably discharged.
Lieutenant (junior grade) Barnes has the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal (for enlisted service).