Retired Lt. Col. James R. Barkley Sr. passed away Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. Interment: 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery with full military honors. Memorials: Friends wishing to make a donation to Col. Barkley's memory may send donations to U.S. Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) Scholarship Foundation (Families of the Fallen) Inc., 593 Main St., Monroe, Conn., 06468-2806. James R. Barkley Sr. was born Nov. 23, 1925, to Joseph and Elva Barkley. He was married Sept. 13, 1947, in Wilmington, Del., to Margaret Mary Mellon, an RN graduate from the Delaware Hospital School of Nursing. She became his ever-loving wife for over 61 years; she passed away Feb. 9, 2009. As a member of the World War II "The Greatest Generation," he enlisted in the U.S Army in 1943 as a private. Following field artillery basic training, he was assigned to Headquarters Battery, 922 FA Bn, 97th Infantry Division, and deployed to the ETO where he participated in battles of the Ruhr Valley and Central Germany. After the surrender of Japan in 1945, he became part of the Allied Occupation Force of Japan until May 1946. Returning to the states as a staff sergeant, he reenlisted in the active U.S. Army Reserve at the Reserve Headquarters in Wilmington, Del. There he participated in many months of extended periods of active duty. On Dec. 8, 1948, while on active duty at the Reserve Headquarters, he received a direct commission to second lieutenant in the U.S. Army field artillery liaison pilot. On Jan. 1, 1950, he was recalled to full active duty and attended the U.S. Army Liaison Pilot flight training, graduating in June as an Army field artillery liaison pilot. Following graduation, he was assigned to the 46th Ordinance Light Aircraft Maintenance Co. (OLAM), Fort Still, Okla., as an aircraft maintenance officer. In December 1950 with his unit, he was deployed to South Korea to assist U.N. forces fighting the North Korean invaders. After a year of flying combat support missions in Korea and two years Army Aviation support duty in Japan, he was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Army, Washington, D.C, as an Army aircraft development project officer in the Army Aviation Engineering and Development Branch. June 1957 he was assigned to the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (BUAER), as an exchange officer, assisting in the development of the Grumman designed AO-1, later designated the Grumman OV-1 by the Army, twin turbo prop reconnaissance fixed-wing aircraft. From June-December 1959 he attended the U.S Army Transportation Corps Officers Advanced Course in Fort Eustis, Va. In January 1960 following graduation he was transferred the U.S. 8th Army Korea and commanded the 55th Army Aircraft Maintenance Company until returning to the U.S. in January 1961. He was assigned to the U.S. Army Aviation Test Board, Fort Rucker, Ala., as a project officer and test pilot, conducting "Developmental Service Test Flights" on new Army fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, including the OV-1 Mohawk. In February 1962 he was again transferred back to Washington, D.C., on the U.S. Army General Staff as development project officer on the OV-1 aircraft program. In March 1964 he was "Officer in Charge" (OIC) to lead the first flight delivery for four U.S. Army OV-1 Aircraft from New York to Heidelberg, Germany. This was followed by a three-year tour as director of maintenance and deputy commander, U.S Army Aviation Maintenance Center, Sandhofen, Germany, and promoted to Regular Army lieutenant colonel. In 1967 he was assigned to the U.S. Army Aviation Training Command, Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Ga. He assumed command of the Army Aviation 2nd Maintenance Battalion. In January 1969 he was transferred to the U.S. Army Vietnam (USARV) 34th General Support Group as director of material where he flew many combat support missions. In January 1970 he was again assigned to the U.S. Army (USAREUR) in Germany as Theater Army Support Command (TASCOM) Senior Army Aviation Staff Officer, providing staff supervision to the U.S. Army Aviation support units in Germany, England and Italy. On Sept. 30, 1973, after more than 29 years of active U.S. Army military service, he retired as a master army aviator with over 6,000 hours of fixed-and rotary-wing pilot flight hours, including 291 combat flight hours. His many awards and decorations included the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Army Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, U.S. Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation and other Bronze battle stars. During his service, he attended military and civilian schools, including the University of Maryland and Troy State Collage, accumulating four years of college credits. Upon retirement, he accepted employment with Bell Helicopter Textron, as logistics manager for military helicopter programs. In February 1986 he was promoted to manager, Bell Helicopter Customer Training Academy, a world-recognized helicopter training activity. During this assignment, Jim was awarded Honorary Master Army Aviator in Royal Thai Army for assisting it in modernizing its Army aviation training programs. In May 1985, the Honorable Wallace Wilkinson, governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, bestowed upon Mr. Barkley the designation of "Kentucky Colonel" for outstanding work in assisting the Kentucky State Aviation Maintenance and Flight Department's upgrading and standardizing their aviation programs. On July 31, 1992, following retirement from Bell Helicopter, he continued as an active member of the U.S. Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA), U.S. Army Transportation Corps Honor Regiment, OV-1 Mohawk Association, and the Army Liaison Pilots "Cub Club Originals." In recognition of his degree of professionalism, unwavering devotion to duty and dedication to defending the United States, in December 2010 the U.S. AAAA honored Lt. Col. Barkley with the association's "St. Michael Bronze Medal." Survivors: Son, retired Tech. Sgt. James R. Barkley Jr. of Dallas; daughters, Nancy A Mahler of Sacramento, Calif., Barbara Barkley of Arlington; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren.
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Published in Star-Telegram on Aug. 15, 2016.