David N. Barnes recently arrived in San Diego to become the director of the Mormon Battalion Historic Site (MBHS) in Old Town San Diego.
For 22 years Barnes was employed by TWA and managed airport services in Los Angeles and Kansas City. His responsibilities with the airline company included personnel management for union and non-union employees, VIP relations, and management of airport functions, such as customer service, mechanical services, airplane servicing, ticketing, luggage management, and dining services.
After retiring from TWA in 1988, Barnes became manager of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints travel services, where his responsibilities included negotiating airline contracts in behalf of the church, performing employee personnel management functions, training church travel staff in the areas of reservation, ticketing and the visa administration process. He also handled the travel arrangements for the Tabernacle Choir tours. He served in this capacity for 20 years, retiring in September 2013. Soon after, he was called as the new director of the MBHS. Their assignment to serve at the historic site came as a "missionary calling" from leaders of the LDS Church.
Barnes attended Staunton Military Academy in Staunton, Va., where he graduated from high school. He then attended the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. While attending the university, he was called to serve a mission for the LDS Church in England, Ireland and Scotland.
Upon returning from his mission, he continued his studies at the University of Utah, pursuing a degree in banking and finance. Following his graduation in June 1963, he married Cherie White in the Salt Lake Temple. Cherie serves as his companion and assistant at MBHS.
The recently remodeled Mormon Battalion Historic Site, located on 2510 Juan St., includes a multimedia presentation and hands-on exhibits and activities, telling the history of the group of 500 men, with some women and children, who enlisted in the U.S. Army and marched from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to the small pueblo of San Diego.
Here at the close of the Mexican American War, the Mormonitos, as they were called, stayed and performed garrison duties, including teaching the Californios to fire bricks and line their wells, providing safe drinking water. They also built a U.S. Courthouse, a replica of which stands in Old Town San Diego Historic State Park today.
The MBHS is open daily and free to the public.