Barre received a motorcycle escort that morning from 10 members of the Legion Riders of American Legion Post 111 in Dallas, according to Sons of American Legion member John Cagle.
Barre received the surprise escort through the efforts of Laura Clark, who works at the Hiram Walmart as a demonstrator. Clark said she became acquainted with Barre and contacted the Legion Riders on his behalf.
“We were very pleased to offer an escort,” said Cagle. “That’s what we’re here for, to do anything we can do for our veterans.”
Barre is one of the estimated 318 World War II veterans living today in Paulding County, according to the Veterans Administration.
The VA estimates that only 2,227 World War II veterans are alive in Georgia.
Originally from Indiana, the Air Force tail gunner lived most of his life in Florida with his wife of 66 years. He moved to Dallas four years ago.
Barre served in the Pacific Theater during World War II, flying in B-24’s but trained in AT-6’s, too.
“I enjoyed being a tail gunner,” said Barre. “I’ve fired many a round.”
The staff sergeant flew on 51 missions until they had a problem and he had to bail out.
“When I bailed out, the parachute crossed over me and I was in the hospital for a week,” said Barre. “After that, they wouldn’t let me fly any more.”
He could have earned an additional stripe had he taken the Air Force’s offer to allow him to train other gunners, but Barre declined and resumed civilian life.
Following four years in the Air Force, Barre worked for 27 years as a deputy in the Destin and Fort Walton, Fla., area where he “spent time chasing moonshiners.”
Barre, who will be 90 on Dec. 6, was a guest of honor at the pre-airshow dinner at the airport Friday night, where he sat with fellow veterans, local dignitaries, airshow performers, airport authority members, the airshow committee and other guests.
He said he particularly enjoyed seeing the B-24 at Saturday’s airshow from his VIP location under a tent. “I liked that B-24,” he commented. “The bigger they are, the best I liked them to ride in.”