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Barnard stationed in Da Nang during Vietnam War

MADISON – Immediately after graduating from high school in Huntsville, Lester C. Barnard was drafted in 1968.

“Being raised as an Air Force brat, I chose to enter the Air Force and took my induction orders to the Air Force recruiter in Huntsville,” Barnard said. “On June 17, 1968, I was at Amarillo Air Force Base, Texas for basic training.”

Barnard was assigned to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas for security police technical school. He then reported to Little Rock AFB in Jacksonville, Ark. to 314th Security Police squadron that performed aircraft and nuclear weapons security.

After two years in Little Rock, Barnard was assigned to Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam. In 1970-1971, he served with 314th Services Squadron in administrative services and other duties. Barnard was a Sergeant (E-4) when he left the Air Force.

During his service, Barnard earned medals for National Defense Service, Vietnam Service, Air Force Good Conduct and Republic of Vietnam Campaign. His awards included Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor and 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Small Arms Expert Marksmanship ribbon.

“I’ve lived in Madison County since 1961 when my father retired from the Air Force. I moved from Harvest to Madison in July 2019, because it’s a fantastic location and has that small town feeling that I really like, especially ‘old town’ Madison and the historical district,” Barnard said.

He attended David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University) in Nashville, Tenn. and received a bachelor’s degree in education in 1978. He also graduated from Athens State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1992.

“I am a retired U.S. Army Civilian. I worked at the U.S. Army Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment Activity at Redstone Arsenal,” Barnard said. “I’ve been married to my lovely wife Lora for 45 years.”

The Barnards’ daughters, Kristen and Kelley, live in Madison with their husbands. Kristen graduated in computer science from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and now works for a government contractor. Kelley, a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham in occupational therapy, works for Huntsville Hospital and Amedisys Home Health.

Lester Barnard belongs to Madison American Legion, Post 229; Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067, Huntsville; Disabled American Veterans Chapter 26, Huntsville; 366th Fighter Association; and Air Force Association.

“My hobbies include learning to play the ukulele, amateur radio and computers,” Barnard said

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