Will C. Barnes True West
Painting by Bob Boze Bell

Private Will Croft Barnes received the Medal of Honor for “bravery in action” when he made a daring ride from Fort Apache (which was under siege by Apache warriors) to Fort Thomas in 1881 to seek help.

After he left the service in 1883 he became a rancher in northern Arizona, then served in the state legislature and wrote several books, including his classic Arizona Place Names which compiles information from “old timers, Indians, Mexicans, cowboys, sheep-herders, historians” and anybody who had a story as to the origin and meaning of Arizona names.

The U.S. Army Reserve Center in Phoenix and the Fort Huachuca Field House are named in his honor. You might say Will made quite a name for himself.

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