Jerry Barnes

Why I Started Writing:

  1. While I was richly blessed with a rich, rewarding, and very enjoyable engineering career, the nature of my various jobs required me to become proficient in writing. Along the way, I began to enjoy writing and expressing my feelings and thoughts through the written word. This enjoyment continued throughout my career and to this day.
  2. My career with the Army Corps of Engineers (hereafter referred to as the Corps), both as an Army officer and a civilian, provided many memorable experiences to record for posterity. In the course of executing the duties of various positions, I visited locations throughout the US and much of the world. My varied writing experiences included: researching and writing reports, correspondence, news and press releases, planning studies, speeches, etc. I also responded to Congressional Inquiries, audit reports, and participated in the writing of the Corps’ first comprehensive Project Management Training Manual.
  3. I retired from the Corps in January 2007 after 39 years of service, then returned to the Corps as a retired annuitant one year later–this time working for the Secretary of the Army as a Special Assistant. Four years later, after leaving the Corps for the second time, I worked as a consultant to the World Bank and also for an AE (Architect and Engineering) firm. All of these assignments included writing reports which provided the results of my research and reviews. In 2013, I retired to the beautiful, serene Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where I received inspiration to continue writing for the remainder of my life.

Authors Who Have Influenced Me:

  1. From Sun Tsu (The Art of War) I saw the importance of focusing on brevity and clarity. I began to understand the power of writing effectively using fewer words. Admittedly, this was my biggest challenge.
  2. Tim Harrington’s book, Leadership Lessons from the Life of Jimmy Stewart, taught me to visualize your dreams and pursue them.
  3. Bill O’Reilly showed me how to record graphic, powerful battle scenes, as in his WWII book, Killing the Rising Sun.
  4. I read most of John Grisham’s books, and admired the way his words flowed so naturally from the page.
  5. The apostle, Peter, in I and II Peter wrote with a specific purpose in mind. Much like Peter, I wanted my writings to inform people about the sacrifice of our combat soldiers, while encouraging veterans who are still struggling from past experiences.
  6. From the prophet Jonah, I learned to give the clear message, “Don’t let anger define your thinking or actions of life.”
  7. The Book of James taught me to live, think, act, and write in a practical God-pleasing manner.
  8. The apostle John, in all of his Biblical writings, had a loving, yet effective, manner of expressing his feelings and emotions. I wanted my writings to touch readers with a similar passion for others.

What I've Been Writing:

  1. My first attempt at writing began with a 5,000 word book, called Tangier, written during my Corps career. The book dealt with the charming, yet simple, lifestyle of the island’s residents.
  2. A second work was a collaborative effort, and involved the development of the Corps of Engineers Comprehensive Manual on Project Management–an estimated 400-page training manual written with five other engineers. The Corps still uses revised and updated versions of this manual–even after 35 years.
  3. My third writing attempt was a collection of short stories, which I began and completed during the one-year period after retirement and before beginning work for the Secretary of the Army. The approximately 40,000 word manuscript, entitled Living, Laughing, Crying, Dying is a collection of short stories and lessons learned during my life and career with the Corps. These human interest stories present a variety of topics–some funny, some serious, some written with intrigue, and others reflective of the lessons I learned. This work has not been published.
  4. Our neighbor’s mischievous and shrewd setting hen inspired a fourth book, entitled Ruby and Her Barnyard Friends. These ten children’s stories portray Ruby as the wise, yet cunning leader of the animals in and around the barn where she lives. Each story offers a life lesson from their adventures. These stories have not been published.

What I'm Working On Now:

The fifth book, When Heaven Visits, Dramatic Accounts of Military Heroes, is published with Elk Lake. The book contains stories of military men and women who've told their stories of miraculous occurrences and life-saving events that took place during their tours of duty. I'm working on a sequel to that book now.

Jerry Barnes

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