How A 13-Year-Old Lied His Way Into Military Service During WWII

Like so many young men, Bill Barnes joined the service during World War II, but in the case of Barnes, … Continued

Like so many young men, Bill Barnes joined the service during World War II, but in the case of Barnes, he wasn’t a man, not yet, he was 13 years old when he enlisted in the Army. He first tried his luck at the Navy recruitment office, but was turned away after the recruiters realized how young he was. Instead, they recommended that if he was going to keep trying, he should go to the Army recruiter down the road, and they even gave him some advice on how to lie his way into wartime service.

And so, Barnes began his military career as a teenager, and with it came a lifetime of stories, stretching from WWII to the Korean War. Due to his size, Barnes once had to squeeze into the undercarriage of a plane when the fuel transfer valve needed to be replaced. Another time he was reassigned to a signal corps radar room because they worked in the dark and nobody would notice the child in military uniform.

James Clark
James Clark

is the Deputy Editor of Task & Purpose and a Marine veteran. He oversees daily editorial operations, edits articles, and supports reporters so they can continue to write the impactful stories that matter to our audience. In terms of writing, James provides a mix of pop culture commentary and in-depth analysis of issues facing the military and veterans community. Contact the author here.

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