Col. Albert “Al” Melton Barnes

Published 12:52 am Saturday, May 9, 2015

Col. Albert “Al” Melton Barnes, U.S. Air Force ret., passed away peacefully May 7, 2015, at his home in Vicksburg, just one day shy of his 73rd birthday.

Born in Petal, Col. Barnes was the son of L.B. “Pete” and Helen Barnes, and the grandson of former Forrest County Sheriff Kindred J. Grantham and his wife Ethel.

His wife Susan, daughter Melissa Palmer and son Patrick Barnes survive him. His siblings, Molly Simms, Kenny Barnes and Becky Palmer also survive him.

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Al attended Mississippi State University and received a commission in the USAF in January 1965, serving until August 1992.  Col. Barnes began his career as an A-37 fighter pilot in Vietnam distinguishing himself and earning membership in an elite group of pilots selected to serve as test pilots at the USAF’s flight-testing center at Edwards AFB, Calif.

As a test pilot, Col. Barnes flew many different prototypes ultimately staying with the A-10 Warthog, also known throughout the world as the “Tank Killer.”

In retirement, Al enjoyed gardening, cooking and creating custom woodwork items for his family.  Known for his generosity, Al and Susan received great joy in sharing the bounty of his garden with many.

Visitation will be Sunday, May 10, 2015, at the Glenwood Funeral Home in Vicksburg from 2 to 4 p.m.

Graveside service will be 11 a.m., Monday, May 11, 2015, at the A.B. Chappell Cemetery on Lee Road in Petal.