United States Army Aviation CW2 • Line of Duty Death: November 10, 2023

United States Army Aviation CW2 Shane Michael Barnes passed away on November 10, 2023 as the result of a helicopter crash while on deployment.

Barnes was born and raised in Sacramento, California. Having grown up in the country with dogs, cows, horses, and lots of room to roam, Barnes loved to play outside with his brother, Joshua. Together, they’d play with their Tonka trucks, army men figurines, and bikes. He also had family responsibilities, high expectations and developed a strong work ethic. For his service in his community, he received the Alumni Service Award at his high school graduation. Barnes enjoyed athletics, camping, paintball, and scuba diving. Additionally, he had an artistic side, having been a gifted writer and painter. While attending university, Barnes met his wife, Samantha, while the two of them were at a Leader Development and Assessment Course for their respective ROTC programs. Their paths crossed often, however, they did not reconnect until later when they learned they would be in the same flight school class. They frequently spent time together and shared their first official date playing mini golf and eating a bag of burgers at a drive-in movie.

Barnes came from a family of service members who instilled in him a sense of duty and responsibility. He loved to play army men as a child and began speaking about his desire to serve in the military at a young age. The events on September 11, 2001 cemented his sense of calling to protect and serve our country. Upon graduating from Gonzaga University in 2011, where he served as Battalion Commander of his ROTC Unit, he was commissioned into the US Army and reported to Fort Rucker. Barnes loved everything about serving, however, above all, he loved the camaraderie and brotherhood that came with his military service. He was a great leader and never failed to look out for those under him. His ultimate goal was to join the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Throughout his honorable career, Barnes earned many awards. His most notable one is his Distinguished Flying Cross with valor in combat, which he earned in 2019. Additionally, he earned over 1,000 flight hours which granted him his Senior Army Aviator Badge. While deployed in 2023, Barnes lost his life while he was conducting a training flight when his aircraft went down over the Mediterranean Sea. The investigation is still ongoing.

Currently, Samantha and her girls live in a beautiful, rural town in Kentucky. She and her husband had many shared experiences of running half and full marathons, and she still enjoys running today. She also loves to read and has an adoration for horses. Samantha served as the treasurer for the Soldier Family Readiness Group for Barnes’ flight company. In the future, she is most excited to continue to watch her children grow and what the future holds for them. The financial freedom of a mortgage-free home from the Foundation is immeasurable for the Barnes family; they are eternally grateful. Finally, Samantha would like others to know who Barnes was; not just a soldier and pilot, but a loving husband and father as well. The dedication of men like Barnes and the sacrifices they make should not go unnoticed.

United States Army Aviation CW2 Shane Michael Barnes is survived by his loving wife, Samantha, his beautiful daughters, Amelia and Katherine, his brother, Joshua, and his parents, Michael and Kelly.