On June 15, 1919, Van T. Barfoot was born in Edinburg -- probably didn'tmake much news back then.
Twenty-five years later, on May 23, 1944, near Carano , Italy , Van T. Barfoot,
who had enlisted in the Army in 1940, set out to flank German machine gun
positions from which fire was coming down on his fellow soldiers. He advanced
through a minefield, took out three enemy machine gun positions and returned
with 17 prisoners of war.
If that wasn't enough for a day's work, he later took on and destroyed three
German tanks sent to retake the machine gun positions.
That probably didn't make much news either, given the scope of the war, but it
did earn Van T. Barfoot, who retired as a colonel after also serving in Korea and
Vietnam , a Congressional Medal of Honor.
What did make news last week was a neighborhood association's quibble with
how the 90-year-old veteran chose to fly the American flag outside his suburban
Virginia home. Seems the rules said a flag could be flown on a house-mounted
bracket, but, for decorum, items such as Barfoot's 21-foot flagpole were
He had been denied a permit for the pole, erected it anyway and was facing court
action if he didn't take it down. Since the story made national TV, the
neighborhood association has rethought its position and agreed to indulge this
old hero who dwells among them.
"In the time I have left I plan to continue to fly the American flag without
interference," Barfoot told The Associated Press.
As well he should.
And if any of his neighbors still takes a notion to contest him, they might want to
read his Medal of Honor citation.
It indicates he's not real good at backing down.
Van T. Barfoot's Medal of Honor citation:
This 1944 Medal of Honor citation, listed with the National Medal of Honor
Society, is for Second Lieutenant Van T. Barfoot, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond
the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano , Italy . With his platoon heavily
engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding
ground, 2d Lt. Barfoot moved off alone upon the enemy left flank. He crawled
to the proximity of 1 machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand
grenade, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans. He continued along the German
defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun
killed 2 and captured 3 soldiers. Members of another enemy machinegun crew
then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. Barfoot. Leaving
the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions
in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to
17. Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly
captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at
his platoon positions. Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed
position directly in front of 3 advancing Mark VI tanks. >From a distance of 75
yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it,
while the other 2 changed direction toward the flank. As the crew of the disabled
tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot killed 3 of them with his tommygun. He continued
onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German
fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech. While returning to his
platoon position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts,
assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety.
Sgt. Barfoot's extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and
aggressive determination in the face of point blank fire are a perpetual
inspiration to his fellow soldiers."
If you got this email and didn't pass it on - guess what - you deserve to get your butt kicked!
I sent this to you, because I didn't want to get MY butt kicked.
WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE, ONLY BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE!
Random posts about trail running, computing, family-ing, thinking, and whatever else I choose to say.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
An American Hero (Still) - Van T. Barfoot
I received this in an email and thought it was worth sharing on my blog. Please overlook the formatting problems, and focus only on the content. If you are reading it directly from my blog, then you may have to highlight the words in order to read it due to the dark background:
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