The Remarkable Barney Young
By John Spence

I was first introduced to bicycle touring in 1993. I had done a number of one day rides w friends. A group of these friends suggested I join them for a week-long Arizona, North to South ride sponsored by the Tucson bike club. This ride went from the Grand Canyon in N. Arizona to the border w/ Mexico at Nogales Mexico. It was during this ride that I first met Barney Young . At the time I was 47 years old- and I didn't know how old Barney was, but I would guess in his mid 60s or early 70's. ( it turns out he was 73.) I was impressed what good shape Barney was in and how well he biked. He wasn't fast, but he kept up with the group and handled the hills and the elements as well, if not better, than some of us younger persons on the trip. Over the next few years, I had several other occasions to travel with Barney, on biking and skiing trips. On one trip, during a flight to San Francisco for a bike trip we arranged in the wine country of California, I recall Barney telling some stories of his days as a pilot, and particularly "flying the hump" from Burma to China during World War II. I thought the stories were interesting, another fascinating side of Barney. However, I didn't know much about the history of this part of World War II. Unfortunately, since the California bike trip, I hadn't seen much of Barney, but had heard that he was still active, and continued to do some biking. Bike touring became an increasing part of my life interests, as I really enjoy traveling and seeing the world in this way, and hope that this will benefit my health as much as it apparently has for Barney.

Wartime photo of Barney Young.

Fast forward to 2010. My sister Dorothy and her husband Jon decided to sign up for a tour of China and asked if anyone else in the family would be interested. Before long Barbara and I, sister Robin and her husband Dominic, and my sister Ginny were all on board for this trip- for 12 days in September 2010. During this tour we traveled to Beijing, Xian, Chongqing, cruised the Yangtze river and ended in Shanghai. It was a great tour. While in Chongqing, we visited a small museum on a side street, high above the Yangtze, that celebrated the military help that Americans had given to the Chinese during the Japanese invasion of China during World War II. The museum was dedicated to the "Flying Tigers" of General Claire Chennault and the men who "Flew the Hump" supplying the Tigers and the Nationalist Chinese army of Chiang Kai Shek. The docent at the museum waxed elegantly about the gratitude of the Chinese in the area of Chongqing for all that these Americans had done for them during some of China's darkest days. I thought it remarkable, in communist China, to have a museum honoring Americans, who, while helping China, had helped the Nationalist government. Thinking of Barney, I bought a T shirt and a "hump Flyers" patch for Barney at the museum and determined that I would get together w/ Barney to find out more about his experiences after the tour. Sometime after this, while at my Tues. coffee clutch w/some of my retired peeps at Brueggers, John Schacht mentioned that he had a good book about this period, which he lent me. This was, "General Stillwell and the American Experience in China 1911-1945", by Barbara Tuchman.

I did finally get together w/Barney in May of 2011, at the Village Inn in Davenport. I had e-mailed Barney and told him that I remembered him talking about "flying the hump" and that I had read to above-mentioned book and wanted to find out more about his experiences. I did not tell him I had been to China, although I told him I did have a surprise for him. On my way to the meeting I wondered if Barney would be taken aback because I had so many questions: it might feel like an interrogation. My fears dissipated when Barney arrived with a briefcase full of goodies about his experiences. These included pictures of himself and some of the planes he flew, the patches that they wore on their uniforms, a great article about the experience titled "The Toughest Flying in the World" by Richard Rhodes, and an article about one of the recent "Hump Pilot reunions."

Barney had a lot to tell- I tried to keep notes- I'm sure they are incomplete, but I'll try to get the gist of our 3 hours.

Barney said that he first started flying in 1941- he would have been about 20 years old. He said that he had a friend ( they were both news carriers in Rock Island) who was already doing some flying at the Moline airport and he asked Barney if he'd like to go along. Barney said that from that first flight he was hooked on flying. Whenever he came up with $5 he would go to the airport, where he could fly for 20 minutes for $5. Later, Barney bought into a Luscombe Silvaire, tail number 41913. The Luscombe was built by Don Luscombe, who had previously worked building Monocoupe by Velie motors. In later years, Barney gave flying lessons in Monocoupes.

Luscombe Silvaire- this was the first all metal airplane "no fabric wings" and was powered with a 65 HP engine, which was also the first fuel injected engine. It also had a two seat side by side cabin.

Barney said that the fuel injection system had flaws which caused the engine to shut down at times due to fuel starvation and he had many forced landings in that plane. Below is a picture of a Luscombe Silvaire. This is a newer 1946 model.

The Monocoupe was manufactured from 1927-9 by Velie Motors Corporation (founded by Willard L. Velie, maternal grandson of John Deere). It was a wood-frame, doped fabric-covered monoplane (hence the name), seating two people in an enclosed cabin. Below is a Velie Monocoupe.

Barney got his commercial pilot license in Moline in 1941 . The fun began in 1943. One day that year an US Army plane landed at the Moline airport and asked to meet all those who had commercial pilot licenses. His message was simple: Uncle Sam needs You. Barney volunteered and was given a list of possible training sites.

"There were three of us with commercial pilots license. I was the first one to leave Moline. I stopped in Chester and stayed because there was an Army Primary Flight School there. When it was discovered I was a pilot they wouldn't let me out of town. We were assigned to train new Army Air Corp Cadets. We each were assigned 5 new cadets, solo them, teach them elements of flying, forced landings, all kind of spot landings, i.e., 180 side approaches, 180 overhead approaches, short field approaches, etc. navigation and acrobatics for a total of 65 hours dual instruction, sending them on their way for instrument training at another field. Then we were assigned 5 (five) new cadets and start all over again. We scheduled one hour flights with each cadet instructing and than gave the cadet one hour solo flight in another airplane every day after they soloed. I was assigned two PT - 17 Stearmans which were open cockpit bi-planes. One ship in which I would teach and the other ship I assigned the cadet to practice certain maneuvers ."

While in Chester, the army informed Barney and the other instructors that the draft board would soon be after them, so the instructors were all taken to Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., where they all enrolled in the US Army Reserves as privates so they could not be drafted. They then returned to Chester, now as Privates in the Reserves.

Shortly thereafter they were told that as the war was going badly, (Germany was bombing London, Mussolini had possession on N. Africa, and Japan had chased MacArthur out of the Philippines- and that those pilots with lot of hours (Barney and his group of instructors) were needed for other important duties, and they needed to learn instrument flight and multi engine flight. At that time, they were also told that all flying would be within the continental US and no combat flying.

"Two of us then went to Memphis for training, each school was to take 6 weeks, but there was a backlog of students and a waiting list. So instead of completing training at the school in Memphis "we were sent to instrument school in Greenville MS where we learned the Morse Code and flew instruments by sound from 4 course range stations."

Then he was told 25 pilots were needed in Great Falls Mt., to learn to be co-pilots of multi -engine planes. From March thru June of 1944 Barney flew as co-pilot in a four engine B-17.He flew with pilot Captain Bob Crawford, who was a bush pilot from Alaska, a 5 th cousin of FDR, and who wrote "Off we go into the wide blue yonder" which later became the official song of the of the US Air Force.

The U.S. Air Force
is the official song of the United States Air Force . Written in 1939, it is known informally as "The Air Force Song," and is often referred to informally as "Into the Wild Blue Yonder", "Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder," [1] or simply "Wild Blue Yonder."

Originally, the song was titled as The Army Air Corps . Robert MacArthur Crawford wrote the lyrics and music during 1939. [1] In 1947, the words "U.S. Air Force" in the title and lyrics replaced the original "Army Air Corps". On September 27, 1979, General Lew Allen, Jr. , Chief of Staff of the Air Force, adopted it as the official song for the service. (Wikipedia)

Next, Barney (and Cpt.Crawford) were sent to Seattle. Barney picked up a brand new B-17 at the Boeing factory. The planes had not yet been outfitted with guns and bomb carriers and other armament, which was specific to the theatre to which the planes were being sent. He flew this plane to Denver, where it was to be outfitted with weapons. Then he flew an outfitted plane to Idyllwild airport (now Kennedy airport) in NY for eventual delivery overseas. Barney continued doing similar delivery flights of B-17s and C-46 to various locations in the US for 3 mos., while on the waiting list for instrument school in Greenville.

(Probably the most famous B-17, The Memphis Belle.)

History of the B-17 Flying Fortress

The Boeing B-17, perhaps the most famous of the World War II combat aircraft, saw service in every combat theater. A total of 12,731 Fortresses were built.

In July 1941, the British used the B-17 on precision bombing runs on enemy installations. In December of the same year, 17 Fortresses flew the first U.S. missions in the Pacific. In August 1942, 12 B-17s made the first U.S. raid from England, bombed Rouen, shot down their first German aircraft, and returned with no casualties.

During the war, B-17s dropped 640,036 tons of bombs on European targets in daylight raids. This compares with 452,508 tons dropped by Liberators and 464,544 tons dropped by all other U.S. aircraft. The B-17s downed 23 enemy planes per 1,000 raid as compared with 11 by Liberators, 11 by fighters, and three by all U.S. medium and light bombers.

Following 1935 when the first B-17 was built by Boeing, constant design improvements developed the 32,000-pound Flying Fortress into the 65,000-pound giant of its day. During the later stages of the war, B-17s also were built under license by Douglas and Lockheed.
(Above info compiled from the Confederate Air Force brochure)

More information below:

Cabin Heating
The B-17F and G were equipped with receptacles to plug in flying suits at all crew positions (the G model had an extra receptacle in the radio room). There was also a cabin heating system. In the B-17F and early G models this was a Glycol system that was heated by the inboard engines.

Later G models used a forced air system that heated the air by running it through exchangers mounted on the engine exhaust pipes - externally planes with the forced air system could be identified by the metal covers over the exhaust pipes - this system also served to defrost the windows.

There was soundproofing insulation in the forward areas of the aircraft. The flight deck was always insulated -in the B-17E,F and early G models the bombardier and radio areas were also insulated. In later G models it looks like the insulation was not installed in the radio room or nose area - except for the bulkhead (forward of the instrument panel).

Michael Lombardi Corporate Historian, The Boeing Company

B-17 with a toilet? Thanks for the laugh. The nearest thing to a toilet was the old relief tube that would freeze up at altitude with predictable and often embarrassing results. Sam Halpert

After completing instrument school in Greenville, Ms, Barney went to Blytheville, AR (Eakes Air Base) where he completed multi engine school. He graduated from multi-engine school Sept. 44 at the age of 25. (All instruments at this time used Morse code).While Barney had been flying B-17s, which he liked, he was now sent to Detroit to pick up B-24s, out of Willow Run for the Fourth Ferry Group Command.. He flew several of these B-24s to Birmingham AL to be outfitted with weapons, and then would be assigned to fly an outfitted B-24 to NY state. These planes were bound for Europe. He would then fly back to Detroit on an American Airlines commercial flight and start the process over. This continued until November of 1944 when he was sent to Homestead, FL for Pan American Airline pilot school . While this was a commercial pilot school, they were training Army pilots to fly B-24s bombers and C54s-passenger/cargo planes. This course lasted 1 mo. Barney graduated on 11/30/44. He then returned to Detroit. Here's a photo of a B-24.

Upon arriving back in Detroit he received orders to report to Nashville on the 15 th of December. Shortly thereafter he was sent to Miami to be processed for overseas assignment. Barney was told because the Battle of the Bulge was in full swing, they were needed overseas. He was sent to Ft. Trotten NY for overseas deployment. There was a daily formation for overseas deployment. If your name was not called during the formation, you were free until the formation the next day at 8AM.Barney says he spent one week in a hotel near Times Square and had a great time, including New Years Eve 1944. His name was called on 1/2/45 and he left the next day.

They flew over the Atlantic at night at 10,000 ft., landing for re-fueling at Gander, Newfoundland. They left at 5AM and flew to the Azore Islands. Next it was to Casablanca where they rested for 14 hrs., then on to Cairo; then to Bahrain Island to stop for fuel then to Karachi, India; Calcutta, India.. They arrived in Calcutta about 1/5 or 1/6 .On the plane (a C-54) were 25 crews of pilots and co-pilots only and other military personnel. While the plane had a slightly greater capacity, they restricted the number of pilots and co-pilots on each flight in case a plane was shot down by German gunboats. They had to fly at a fairly low altitude because there was no oxygen supplied in the plane. They refueled at each stop.

The Mission

In Calcutta they were informed that there was a new base being completed, and that they were to fly C 109s-( B 24s converted to be fuel tankers) from India to China. While they Wikipedia reference below states that the C-109 carried 2,4000 gallons of fuel, Barney remembers that it carried 4,000 gallons of gas- 2,800 in the wings and 1,200 in the bomb bays. The takeoff weight was supposed to be no more than 59,000 lbs, but Barney reports they often ran 62,000 lbs. His tanker group flew out of a brand new base 300 miles N. of Calcutta in Srinagar, India, which had a concrete runway- the only concrete runway in that theatre. This was Shamshernagar air base. The runway was 6,000 ft long, and was also at an altitude of approx. about 500ft above sea level. Every inch and more was needed to get off the ground. Barney reported that takeoff was often difficult and that many pilots were killed on takeoff. They had to have 3,000 ft of elevation minimum to use a parachute due to the problem of getting out of the plane thru the bomb bay door.. The outbound flights to China began at night and were flown without lights- to avoid be shot at by Japanese fighters. The planes were unarmed. Barney flew 10 flights as a co-pilot before he was promoted to pilot. They flew to Chongqing China, where they unloaded their fuel. On the return trip they flew to Myitkyina, Burma (pronounced MIT-KEY-ANNA)to refuel with 800 gallons on the way back.

The route took them over the Himalayas and some very extreme and nasty weather. The crew consisted of three- pilot,co-pilot and crew chief.. Navigation was fairly primitive. Time and direction were the primary assets at their disposal. In daytime flights they recognized geography by rivers. The plane was rated to fly at a cruising speed of 180 mph, but on arrival at Chongqing they determined they had been going up to 300 mph on the flight East. This was the result of the jet stream- of which little was known at the time. While the flight to Chongqing took about 6-8 hours, the return flight usually took 12-13 hours, again due to jet stream. Pilots sometimes ran out of fuel on the flight back and had to bail out. This happened with some frequency and the flight path over and back was nicknamed "aluminum alley". Sometimes the pilots landed in territory controlled by China or the allies, while at other times they were captured by the Japanese. There had 800 lbs. of oxygen but no heat and unpressurized cabins in the plane. The wind blew through to vent out the gas fumes. While the plane was rated to fly at 30,000 ft, 26,000 was the highest they ever flew. Of course, in the Himalayans they had to be careful to avoid the peaks. Generally they flew at different altitudes from W-E, the southern route ( 19,000ft.) versus the northern route, E-W 24,000 ft. to avoid running into other planes. Their radios had a maximum range of 35 miles; they had to be that close before they could communicate with an airport. As they were unarmed, if they were spotted by a Japanese fighter on the return trip, when they flew during the day, the would try to hide in a cloud as their only defense. The planes did not have gas gauges, and they used dipsticks to measure remaining fuel. On one occasion Barney's plane was running out of fuel on the return trip. They were saved by locating an airport at Bamo , Burma where they landed and refueled. However, until shortly before landing they did not know if the airport was under the control of the Chinese or the Japanese. The southern route was just 15 miles north of Japanese held territory, but at night, since there was no radar at that time, they were pretty safe flying without lights. Barney report that the C-109 was difficult to fly, particularly due to the double tail wing, and the plane never flew straight.

The Consolidated C-109 Tanker was a fuel transport aircraft based on the B-24. It was produced by removing all of the guns and bombing equipment from a standard B-24, and replacing them with six new fuel tanks - one in the nose, two in the bomb bay and three in the rear fuselage. The aircraft could carry 2,400 gallons of fuel. The XC-109 was converted from a B-24E and the 218 C-109s were converted from B-24Js and B-24Ls . Although the C-109 was used in most theatres, the majority of them were used to transport fuel across the "hump", taking aviation fuel to the B-29 units that were operating from bases in China. These were purely transport aircraft, not refueling aircraft like most modern flying tankers.

Barney flew the J model which had 2800 gallons in the wing tanks and 1200 in the bomb bay (3 vertical tanks of 400 gallons each) none in the nose or tail section. Just above the bomb bay was a platform which stored all the electrical equipment. Just above that was a platform with the oxygen tank. Since the B-24 had electrical control cowl flap and props it was a flying bomb with the gas, electrical and oxygen all together.

Barney flew 116 missions, 58 round trips from India to Chongqing China and return, between 1/45 and 10/45. Remarkably, he never crashed. Barney reports there were usually 30 planes at their base. 12 mechanics were assigned to keep them running. The crews were assigned on a ready to go basis and they were not assigned to a specific plane. Despite this, the planes were often named, and Barney convinced the ground crew to name one of the planes Dorsey, after his girlfriend at the time. The planes were also decorated with a camel decal for each mission flown.

That's Barney in the pictures below in front of Dorsey.


At their base housing in India, there was no electricity or running water. They slept in tents and bamboo huts. Their diet consisted of C-rations. Barney reports he that he dropped from 165 lbs. to 120 lbs. while there. They did have occasional movies at the base, and were kept informed about what was going on in the war thru newsreels. There were 3 radios in the plane, and while the only channels they normally heard were Chinese, they would occasionally pick up an English channel.

The war ended in August of 1945 after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese surrendered on August 15, 1945. Barney remained in India until December of 1945.

The Shamshernagar air base was closed in October 1945. Barney moved to an ATC base at Dacca, India where he started flying 50 passenger C-54's or what you would call a DC - 4. He was assigned to take the 14 th trip into liberated Shanghai. They were given the option of canceling out at any time. The day before he was scheduled to leave Dacca his buddy was killed on the way to Shanghai when the wing burned off as they departed a refueling stop in Kunming. Barney cancelled out. He was immediately sent to Calcutta to a field called Dum Dum where he teamed up with the chief pilot at that base. They set up an airline to fly Merrill's Marauders out of Burma to go home on boats from Karachi. They picked them up in the north east corner of India called Jorhat. They picked up 40 soldiers with all their baggage. The trip from Calcutta to Jorhat was around 500 miles. Traveling to Karachi they had to fly around the base of Mt Everest because they could only fly at 10,000 feet due to lack of oxygen. Enroute was the city of Agra where the Taj Mahal is. That trip from Jorhat to Karachi was 1800 miles. Then after dropping the passengers they flew back to Calcutta which required about a total time of 24 hours . After they started losing planes because the lack of sleep, pilots were to ordered to stay in Karachi and go to bed and get some sleep, then take the next plane that arrived in Karachi back to Calcutta.

A C-54 Skymaster.

From here on out I'll let Barney do the writing!!- John

" The chief pilot, George Bye was a prince of a fellow. We not only had these assignments we also had to test fly any major repairs made on the airplanes based there. At one point I took a trip to Bangkok Thailand flying over the Bay of Bengal to Rangoon without radio navigation but only using land falls over the India ocean and following rivers. There were no airways nor weather bureaus."

"On December 31 st 1945 I made my last flight. I had a total flying time in India of 1190 hours part of which was 890 hours Combat time. The other 300 hrs were called "Valley Time. When I first started to fly gasoline to China we were promised our limit of flying time would be 500 hours and a promise to be sent home as war weary when I first arrived in India. Further, we were promised the Air Medal at 250 hrs and a DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) upon reaching 500 hours. Then they increased it to 600 hours which was later increased to 750 hours. Each time I got close they increased the ante. When I reached the 750 hours I was in China. When I reported back at my base I was told they had canceled the DFC several days before I returned. So they gave me another Air Medal."

' Barney you need to read Catch 22 by Joseph Heller'- John

"I think it was in the first part of July '45 the United States under the Marshall Plan they gave China 10 B-24's. The crews (pilot, co-pilot, navigator several mechanics, and gunners, a complete crew of 10 people) were trained in Arizona. We in the ATC had the job of delivering the airplanes fully equipped and full crew to Chungking. The planes were hop scotched across the south Atlantic all the way to Karachi. I was one of the pilots assigned to go to Karachi and take one of the planes to Chungking where we were elaborately received with a sit down on the ground 13 course dinner with all the dignitaries in a building which had the roof blown off by the Japs. We were flown back to India by MAT's airlines."

"On January 1, 1946 I was called to the office where I was offered to fly a C-54 home leaving Calcutta on the 14 th with 15 enlisted men. I picked up 15 officers in Karachi. Flying across India the #2 engine vibrated so bad I shut it down after flying over Agra. The enlisted men I had were all aircraft mechanics, thank God. They worked all night in Karachi to get that engine fixed. We were not to fly at night. Anyway, following the shore line of the Persian Gulf we stopped in Abadan to refuel. From there we instructed to follow a road north toward Baghdad. Just before arriving at Baghdad we were instructed to pick up an oil line laying on top of the sand and followed it to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, fly cross the Suez Canal and then north to Cairo where we spent 3 days repairing #3 engine carburetor. That wasn't too bad because we got to visit the Pyramids and all of Cairo. From there we followed the shoreline to Tripoli and then on the Casablanca. Due to the fact they took out the rescue boats off the Atlantic we flew down the coast to Dakar and spent the night. From there we went down around the gold coast and headed south over the Atlantic ocean to the Ascension Islands. Arriving there at around 4 PM (you see we were not allowed to fly at night) When I talk to the Officer of the Day I told him that this was a hell of a place to stay. He said you're out of the North African Division, you can do anything you want. I told the crew chief to round everybody up. We're leaving. We left at 5:30PM and arrived in Natal Brazil at 1 AM in the morning. I told everyone we were in for a 9 AM takeoff. We followed the coast line to Georgetown British Guinea, refuel and flew the Caribbean Islands. The closer we got to Miami where I was supposed to deliver the airplane the worse the weather got so we diverted and landed at Ft Lauderdale. Believe you me, I kissed the ground. I never thought I would ever return to American soil. You want to remember we didn't have pressurized cabins so we were restricted to a max of 10,000 feet all the way from Calcutta."

"There are a lot of stories about the Hump, stories that no one would ever believe were possible such as getting struck by lightning burning up the radios, (I was struck 3 different time) airplanes completely flipped over on their back in the storms, dead stick landings (that's when all the four engines quit due to fuel starvation) lost and not knowing where we were. Aluminum alley was named because of all the crashed airplanes along the way. The C-109 was so nose heavy and out of balance after unloading the gas we loaded about 18 to 20 20# burlap bags of sand in the tail end of the ship to balance it out. One time I got dysentery in China and I had to go, bad!. While flying at 24,000 ft I unhooked my regular oxygen supply line, hooked up an auxiliary oxygen bottle, climbed out of the cockpit leaving my parachute in the pilot seat. I walked on a catwalk through the bomb bay (we always left the bomb bay doors ajar about a foot to let the wind blow out the gas fumes) carrying my oxygen bottle with me to the rear of the ship. On each side of the airplane there are big openings in the fuselage 4 ft by 4 ft where the gunners always had their machine guns. No guns on our ships, of course. In fact these openings are left wide open to vent the fumes. Arriving back in the tail end of the ship I took my knife and ripped open a burlap sack, relieved myself, folded the bag the best I could and slung it out the window. Now you remember there are twin tails on a B-24. Well, the dam bag hit one of the tails. When I got back to the base they asked me where in the hell I had been with that airplane!!!!!"

"I retired in July 1983 because I lost my hearing, which is the only problem I have at the present time. I was flying the Commanding General (Major General, 2 Star) for the United States Weapons Command. We had 7 arsenal, 29 government owned private contract companies who made everything the army needed: Weapons, tanks guns, etc. We also supported the Corps of Engineers and NASA. At one time I had a One Star, a Two Star and a Three Star General in my airplane from New Orleans to Shreveport LA. WOW . I told my boss, ":No more of that" Too much responsibility. If something happened I would have been hung at the nearest tree. I even taught a two star General to fly. He did a good job. We flew everywhere in the US. I could fly from Moline to Andrews Air Force Base in 2 hrs and 10 minutes, ground to ground. We flew everything that no one else could or would do. One time I had 4 atomic warheads I picked up in Dover Army Depot in NJ and flew them to Albuquerque, making 4 stops on the way because of the weight. We flew chemicals out of Edgewood Arsenal in Baltimore, MD to points west with armed guards on the airplane. We also had to wear our own side arms on these flights. Usually flying around 7,000 miles a week. I was my own boss. I received the assignment and from there it was up me to make all the arrangements. I had a permit to use anything and everything to get the General and staff to their destination. I had a pass that said I was on official assignment for the US Gov and not to be delayed but to be given all assistance to whatever I needed. What a job!"

The Chinese were so grateful they gave all the pilots who belong to the Hump Pilot's Association a set of wings and the medal which I have framed. We received these medals in Miami Beach in August 1975 from the Chinese diplomat stationed in Washington, D.C.

I have over 15,000 hrs of flight time and flew an estimated 3,000,000 miles. I would like to be remembered as a flight instructor, teaching people to fly. I don't know how many people, in all kinds and types of airplanes, teaching flying a Cub, multi-engine acrobatics, and instrument flying."


Well that's the story and I hope you enjoyed it. I apologize to Barney for taking so long to get this done. Barney- Thank you for your service and I hope we can go biking sometime in the spring.
Courtesy of John Spence
© John Spence all rights reserved

Aug. 28, 2014

I picked up on this article when I learned Barney and my Father, Joseph L. Goodbrake, both served at the same WW II airfield, Shamshernagar in Assam, India at the same time. My dad was a control tower operator. He passed away in 1969. I realized Barney lived in Rock Island, IL just a short drive north of Edwardsville, IL where I live. I went to visit him last summer. It was a special day. To make a long story even longer, I became interested in why he did not receive his Distinguished Flying Cross that he knew he had qualified to receive. 

My brother and I began a quest to reconstruct all of his over the Hump flight records and ask for a review by the USAF. After about a year I received confirmation this week that Barney will be receiving his DFC soon. Barney is super excited as are his two sons--Peter and Patrick. He just turned 95 and lives life to the fullest.

Tim Goodbrake
Edwardsville, IL

The story continues...

February 6, 2015

As noted in the message above, the Army determined that Barney had indeed earned the Army Air Corp Distinguished Flying Cross in September 1945.

The presentation ceremony was held at the Rock Island Arsenal Golf Club on January 24th, 2015. In the invitation, Barney noted that the ceremony was held sixty-nine years to the day following his return to United States soil.

Brett Lohman, head of the Quiet Birdmen, a pilots' association in Moline, gave an excellent slide presentation which included photos of Barney, the airplanes they flew over the hump, flight paths, and shots of some of the terrain crossing the Himalayans. Barney was then presented the DFC award by Lieutenant General Eddie Neumann, ret.

The club was full, attended by over 150 of Barney's friends and family. A wonderful time was had by all, including Barney! The event was also well covered by the local media with stories on WQAD-TV and the Quad Cities Times.

John Spence

Feb. 4, 2017

It is my sad duty to report that Barney Young passed away at age 98 on Jan. 26, 2018. His son informs me that Barney passed after a very short illness. Here is a link to his obituary. Wishing you fair winds and smooth landings Barney.

Michael W. Pocock

Sheri Bustos presenting a copy of the Congressional Record to Barney in the library of the Rock Island Arsenal Golf Club, 1/24/2015. Left to right: Tim Goodbrake, Edwardsville, IL; Barney's sons, Patrick Young, Rock Island, IL, and Peter Young San Francisco, CA, granddaughter Maureen Young, Portland, OR, Barney Young, Sheri Bustos U.S. House of Representatives- IL, granddaughter Erin Young and Daughter in Law Heather Young (Peter's wife).
(Photo courtesy of John Spence)
© 2015 John Spence all rights reserved

Left to right: Tim Goodbrake, Brett Lohman, Barney Young, Lieutenant General Neumann.
(Photo courtesy of John Spence)
© 2015 John Spence all rights reserved

The Distinguished Flying Cross awarded to Barney Young.
(Photo courtesy of Heather Millar)
© 2015 Heather Millar all rights reserved

Page published Nov. 27, 2012