Thornton D. "TD" Barnes, author, and entrepreneur, grew up on a ranch at Dalhart, Texas and served as an Army intelligence specialist in Korea and then continued his education while in the US Army, attending two and a half years of missile and radar electronics by day and college courses at night. His career includes serving as a field engineer at the NASA High Range in Nevada for the X-15, XB-70, lifting bodies and lunar landing vehicles; working on the NERVA project at Jackass Flats, Nevada; and serving in Special Projects at Area 51. Barnes later formed a family oil and gas exploration company, drilling, and producing oil and gas and mining uranium and gold.
Barnes currently serves as the CEO of Startel, Inc.and is actively mining landscape rock and gold in Nevada. He serves as the president of Roadrunners Internationale, an association of Area 51 veterans, and is the executive director of the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame. Two National Geographic Channel documentaries feature Barnes: Area 51 Declassified and CIA—Secrets of Area 51. Numerous documentaries on the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, the Travel Channel, and others also feature him. The Annie Jacobsen book "Area 51 Declassified" documents his career.