Barney Espinoza's Three Careers


From left are, Cpl. F. Lopez, a crew chief, Sgt. Barney Espinoza, an aerial gunner and Cpl. Herbert W. Linson another crew chief.  This picture was taken in July 1966 during Operation Hastings at Dong Hoa, Vietnam

In 1965 Barney deployed to Vietnam.  His primary duty with the squadron was Operations Chief, but he also flew as an Aerial Gunner on missions earning two Air Medals (strike/flight awards) with HMM-364.  After Vietnam Barney continued to serve a total of twenty five years in the Marine Corps and retired in Sept. 1979 as a Master Sergeant.

Barney became an Associate Judge for the city of Cedar Park, Texas and served in this capacity until retiring again in 1993.

Now, we've all heard you can't keep a good man down.  Well, Barney decided to commence upon a third career as a movie actor.  Here are a few pictures of him taken during 2004 on various locations.

Here Barney, on the right, portrays a mobster in the 2004 production of "ChipotleDiamonds."

Here Barney portrays a detective in the 2004 production of "Cheer Up" and starring, in addition to Barney, Tommy Lee Jones.

Barney plays a 'grizzled old trucker' with his co-star Billy Bob Thornton in the 2004 production of "Friday Night Lights."  Barney tells me they didn't have to use much make up to produce the desired results.  In fact, Barney tells me it helps to be a bit on the 'ugly' side when it comes to getting parts in movies.

Here Barney plays the part of a Private soldado (soldier) in the Mexican Army that opposed those defending the Alamo in the movie of the same name filmed in 2003.

Group of Mexican soldados with Barney kneeling on the right.

In The Alamo Barney was determined to be so versatile that he played two roles.  Here, with his co-star Billy Bob Thornton who only had one role of Davy Crockett, is Barney as "Tejano."

Way to go Barney!  We'll keep looking for you on the big silver screen as well as during the Oscar Awards.

Barney provides a bit more of his acting activities:

If you want to know about this Fox today, well, I have been working in movies, six in the past year including five months of work making The Alamo in 2003, with Billy Bob Thornton, Dennis Quaid, Jason Patric, and Patrick Wilson.  I was an 1830s citizen in old Bexar (San Antonio today), then I had to train so that I could be a Mexican soldier in the Alamo battle scenes, and in the San Jacinto battle also.  It was fun, but hard work, and I could definitely "feel the burn", at 64 I was competing with the college age kids.  However, they didn't have the discipline, so when they were puking and passing out due to the 103+ degree TX heat, I'd kick them and remind them that "the old man" was passing them up.  They did accuse me of "liking it too much." 

Since then I was a detective and worked with Tommy Lee Jones and Ann Archer in Cheer Up, I worked with Billy Bob Thornton again in Friday Night Lights, then I was an FBI agent in The Wendal Baker Story, with the Wilson brothers, and Harry Dean Statton, and I was a mobster in Chipotle Diamonds, and I was a professor in a movie for TV called Jack & Bobby with Christene Lottie.  So, ugly must be in because every time I show up they sign me on! 

Barney's Civil Engineering Proclamation

The Leaning Tower of Pisa reminds me of a MABS-36 construction project gone astray because it was commenced right after Happy Hour.
Note that Swifty also made the trip and is proudly worn.

Your webmaster had a few questions while producing this page.  I wrote Barney and since
his answers were very detailed and complete I have included them as he wrote them.


Uncle Frank,

Here  is  some  clarification  to  your  narrative,  you  can  reword  it  in  any 
manner you  choose since I've  made it more wordy  than it needs to be,  but 
that is only to help you with the details.

I deployed,  as part of MABS-36  Field Operations (MOS 7041),  with the rest of  the  MAG  aboard  the  USS Princeton  in '65.   Later  I joined the Purple Foxes and  became  Ops.  Chief  when  then  Ops. Chief,  GySgt.  Philips  was commissioned to  2ndLt.  I flew as a gunner and earned two air medals (total accrued  including my  second tour in  69-70 with  HMM-263,  as Ops.  Chief and  gunner was  35 strike/flight  awards and  4  Single  Mission  Air Medals). I retired  in Sep '79 at  MCAS Kaneohe Bay,  Hawaii where  I was serving  as MAG-24 Ops Chief, with 25 years of service including 4 years reserve time.

I had  already earned a degree while on active  duty and continued post grad- uate studies after I  returned to civilian life.  I  was hired by Bob Bullock, the Texas  State  Comptroller  (who   later  became  the  LtGov.  of  Texas   when George  W. Bush  was  Governor)  and  became  his  (BB's)  liaison  to all the courts in Texas.

About 1987 I was appointed a judge by a small city (Dripping Springs, TX) to help  establish  a  Municipal Court.   A year  later and  more  schools,  I  was appointed a  Municipal Judge in the larger city of Cedar Park,  Texas.  I con- tinued as a  judge until  1993 when  I decided to  return to State  government and continue  to build on that  career which  would allow  me to retire earlier than  if I  continued as a judge.   In 1998 I was able to retire  from State gov- ernment  and  have  not  looked  back  since.   I still  miss the Corps and that "Band  of  Brothers",  but  sorry  to  say  I  don't  feel  the  same  about  the civilians; Go-men-ahsai!

Working  in movies  is something  I have added to my post career(s) hobbies, and  that  is the  way I  view it,  not anything  I  take very  seriously.   I  have turned  down work  because  either I didn't  care for the  subject matter or  it might interfere with some other project or pending trip.  I do enjoy  meeting 
the actors,  the production  people and  being part of the process.   It can  be hard work,  and  there isn't much glamor at times,  as in  filming  The Alamo which required getting up at 3:00am, returning home around 9:30pm or later, six days a week for months.   I was more  bruised during  the filming  of  The Alamo than I was  at the end of my two tours in Vietnam.  I even have a scar on my  left hand  from  the only  bayonet  fight  I have  ever been  in - at The Alamo!

You hear people in various careers say that their experiences, confidence, and attitude development in the Corps enabled them to tackle other things in life, well I can certainly attest to that;  I credit my Marine experience for all that I have taken on in life.   I never expected to be a judge,  I never expected  even to graduate from college,  and I  never aspired to be  an actor and who would ever  imagine me in movies?   Life takes various  twists and turns,  but some- times  a  Marine doesn't shy  away from  cutting a new path,  I have no other explanation.


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