Barney McKinney Giles was born in Mineola, Texas in 1892. He and his twin, Benjamin Franklin Giles, both rose to high rank in combat assignments. He attended East Texas College and the University of Texas until World War I when he enlisted as a flying cadet in August 1917. Giles became second lieutenant in April 1918 and flew with the 168th Observation Squadron in France for a year. Giles resigned in September 1919.

One year later he returned to duty as assistant engineering officer, first at the Aviation Repair Depot in Dallas, Texas, and eight months later at San Antonio Air Intermediate Depot. Giles became first lieutenant in April 1921, and remained at San Antonio until July 1924 when he transferred to Kelly Field, Texas, as engineer and operations officer. Giles served as assistant chief at the Maintenance Branch in Fairfield, Ohio, from July 1925 until April 1927 and then as chief of the Maintenance Engineering Branch, Field Service Station at Wright Field, Ohio, from May 1927 until April 1928.

Lieutenant Giles spent the next year as assistant engineering officer and instructor in the Flying Department at March Field, Calif., and in July 1929 became the post engineering officer at the same field. He served as chief engineering officer at Rockwell Air Depot, Calif., from October 1930 until July 1934, becoming captain in January 1932. Giles graduated from the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., in June 1935 with advancement to major. Major Giles commanded the 20th Bomb Squadron at Langley Field, Va., for a year and moved up to operations officer of the 2d Bomb Group there in July 1936. After graduation from the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth Kan., in June 1938, he went to Washington, D.C. as chief of the Inspection Division in the Office of the Chief of Air Corps.

Giles was promoted to lieutenant colonel in February 1941, to colonel in January 1942, and to brigadier general in March. General Giles went to Hamilton Field, Calif., in July 1942 where he organized and commanded the 4th Air Service Area Command. Giles received his second star in September 1942. He was named director of military requirements and assistant chief of air staff for operations in March 1943 and chief of Air Staff in July. Giles was appointed lieutenant general in May 1941 and In July was named deputy commander of the Army Air Forces. He went to the China-Burma-India Theater in mid-July and held a conference with commanders to arrive at some agreement on the allocation of Hump tonnage.

General Giles was named commanding general of the Army Air Force in the Pacific areas in April 1945 and was in charge of the final air attacks against Japan. Giles and LeMay planned the strategy of bombing industrial and petroleum targets in Japan. In October Giles became commanding general of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific and held this position until his retirement June 30, 1946.

General Giles' awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster; Air Medal with oak leaf cluster.