Army Sergeant Cory Barnes, ’95
Catching Up With a Grad
sgt. carey barnes: “It is more difficult to get into the military than college.”
Sgt. 1st Class Cory R. Barnes chose the Army right out of Sonoma Valley High School and has never regretted the decision. His passion for military service came from his grandfather, a retired chief master sergeant for the Air Force, and from his father, who retired as a major in the Army Reserve.
“I joined the Army to get out of Sonoma County, explore the world and serve my country,” explained Barnes. His very first assignment was to Bamberg, Germany. After that he served in Korea, at Ft. Irwin (Calif.); Ft. Polk (Louisiana); Ft. Lewis (Wash.) and he now serves as a recruitment officer in Santa Rosa.
Barnes’ most notable deployment overseas was in support of Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia-Herzegovina with NATO. “While in Bosnia I saw firsthand how the Army provides humanitarian aid to people in other countries. It made me feel really proud to be part of something larger than myself,” said Barnes.
A handful of Sonoma High graduates choose the armed forces each year. Barnes feels strongly that which branch they choose should be a thoughtful decision. “If you think you might be interested in the military, I advise you to look at all of the branches to see which is the best fit for you. Your frame of mind shouldn’t be: college or the military. Everyone can and is encouraged to do both. Go to the recruiting station with a list of questions written down. Learn how the military can help you afford college. Bring an adult to help you ask the right questions. Take the time to visit each branch so that you are making an educated and informed decision”
As an Army Reserve liaison, Barnes says his job is to recruit, act as a career counselor, determine applicant enlistment eligibilities (officer and enlisted) and advise applicants on enlistment programs and options.
“As a recruiter,” he explained, “the best part of my job is changing someone’s life. As a soldier, the best part cannot be narrowed down to just one thing. I enjoy that my employer can afford me every opportunity to accomplish just about anything anyone would want to be, know or do.” Barnes covers the Santa Rosa area, which does not include Sonoma High, but guesses that eight-to-10 Sonoma High graduates join the military in some capacity each year, though some enter a few years after graduation.
Since Sonoma High, Barnes has taken advantage of educational opportunities offered by the Army. He is currently enrolled at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, working toward a bachelor’s in aviation maintenance and he has completed more than 124 college credits. In addition, his Army education has included the Primary Leader Development Course; Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course; Aviation Senior Leader Course; and the Army Recruiters course to name a few.
Outside of Army life, Barnes enjoys cycling and running, but his favorite pasttime is spending time with his wife of 10 years, Jennifer, and their three young daughters. “Aside from the military, life with my family has been the most amazing adventure,” said Barnes. And had he not joined the Army, he would never have met his wife. “It was a chance meeting while I was stationed in Germany. She was touring the area with her sister. We met and four years later we were married,” he explained.
“I love what I do and I have had no regrets about my past 16 years in the Army. I have a successful career, a wonderful family and skills I will continue to use for the rest of my life.”