Paul Banes was born on January 23, 1912, in East Saint Louis, Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on July 6, 1931, and completed basic training and Machinist School at NTS Great Lakes, Illinois, in October 1931. His first assignment was as a Fireman aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3) from October 1931 to November 1933, followed by Submarine School at Submarine Base New London, Connecticut, from November 1933 to August 1934. F2c Banes served with Submarine Squadron THREE and at Submarine Base Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone, from August to October 1934, and then aboard the submarine USS S-16 (SS-121) from October 1934 to May 1935. His next assignment was aboard the submarine USS S-32 (SS-137) from June 1935 to December 1936, followed by service aboard the destroyer tender USS Dobbin (AD-3) from December 1936 to January 1937. MM2c Banes served aboard the destroyer USS Preston (DD-379) from January 1937 to October 1940, and then aboard the submarine tender USS Beaver (AS-5) from October to November 1940. His next assignment was aboard the submarine USS S-16 (SS-121) from December 1940 to November 1941, followed by service at Submarine Base New London for the fitting out of the submarine USS Grunion (SS-216) from November 1941, through her commissioning in April 1942. CHoMM Banes was killed in action during a confrontation with the armed Japanese freighter Kano Maru on July 30, 1942. On August 22, 2007, a search team organized by the three sons of CDR Mannert Abele (the Captain of the Grunion when she was sunk) used a remotely operated vehicle to find a sunken vessel 3,000 feet down in the Bering Sea north of Kiska Island at the tip of the Aleutian Islands. On October 1, 2008, the U.S. Navy announced that the sunken vessel is the World War II submarine USS Grunion (SS-216).
His Navy Commendation Medal Citation reads:
For meritorious conduct as a member of the crew of the U.S.S. GRUNION which destroyed three enemy destroyers while engaged in a war patrol in enemy controlled waters. Despite severe and persistent anti-submarine measures resulting from these three successful attacks, the GRUNION was brought safely through the counter attacks and continued an aggressive war patrol. As a member of the crew of the GRUNION, your performance of duty was an important and material contribution to the prosecution of this war.