"9-11, well it's a day that changed my life forever. I'll never forget where I was when I found out the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been attacked. I had already been in the army 3 years, I was a team leader in 2nd Ranger Battalion, and we were on Temporary Duty in Germany conducting urban operations"
His battalion would not be among those first to deploy to Afghanistan. It would instead return to the U.S. and await orders that would arrive in the spring of 2002.
"We spent the next 2 months patrolling the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan."
When his enlistment commitment ended Barnes chose to return to his home in Fresno, California. He signed on to Army reserve unit and charted a new course, one that took another turn in 2004.
"My plans on getting my degree in history and getting into law enforcement were pushed to the side when I couldn't take seeing the war in Iraq drag on the way it was. 3 semesters into college and I found myself volunteering for a tour in Iraq. Upon my return I re-enrolled in college and this time only completed another semester before I volunteered for another round in Iraq."
The year was 2007 and that tour was a game changer working directly with the Iraqi people helping solve problems on a personal level.
You probably already know what comes next. Yes, this soldier chose to stay in the Army. And following a stint training other about soldiering in the Middle East Barnes he was selected to return to Afghanistan and mission.
Barnes is in his 4th tour of duty, back in Afghanistan. He and other soldiers are training Afghan police in new ways to interact with their own people, building trust towards the day when American soldiers leave.
And on the day after the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this volunteer is as committed to soldering as the day he volunteered 13 years ago. A citizen soldier with the wisdom to see both sides of any coin.
"Plans that I had made are still on hold because of my dedication to this conflict. Because I believe we owe the Afghan people our very best effort to rid them of an oppressive religious oligarchy. We also owed it to the Iraqi people to remove a regime led by a sociopath."