Van T. Barefoot

Published: Sunday, December 13, 2009

Head east from Carthage on Mississippi
16 toward Philadelphia . After a few
miles a sign says you're in Edinburg . It's
a good thing the sign's there, because
there's no other way to tell.

On June 15, 1919, Van T. Barfoot was born in Edinburg --
probably didn't make 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
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.

minefield nbsp enemy machine gun positions returned 17 prisoners 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

work nbsp destroyed german tanks retake machine nbsp 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.

nbsp colonel serving nbsp korea nbsp vietnam congressional medal honor

nbsp colonel serving nbsp korea nbsp vietnam congressional medal 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

flown house-mounted bracket decorum nbsp items barfoots 21-foot flagpole unsuitable

flown house-mounted bracket decorum nbsp items barfoots 21-foot flagpole unsuitable
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.

neighborhood association nbsp rethought position agreed indulge nbsp hero dwells

neighborhood association nbsp rethought position agreed indulge nbsp hero dwells
"In the time I have left I plan to continue to fly
the American flag without
interference," Barfoot told The Associated

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.

press neighbors notion contest read medal honor citation real backing

Van T. Barfoot's Medal of Honor citation:

honor citation nbsp real backing van barfoots medal honor citation

This 1944 Medal of Honor citation, listed with the National Medal of Honor
, 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
, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans. He continued along the German
defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun
killed 2 a nd 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 d emolition 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."

magnificent valor aggressive determination blank fire perpetual inspiration fellow soldiers

If you got this email and didn't pass it on -
guess what - you deserve to get your
bottom kicked! I sent this to you, because
I didn't want to get mine kicked.

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  • keeper 2010/06/28 19:02:05
    So glad you posted this, Scoop!!
  • SCOOP--... keeper 2010/06/28 19:37:50
    You knew I would. It took a while to do it, but it was worth the time. This awesome hero deserves all the kudos and recognition he can get. We are all indebted to people of his caliber. God bless him and all the other troops from the past and those in the present and future.
  • keeper SCOOP--... 2010/06/28 19:45:21

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Waxahachie, TX, US

2009/02/18 21:27:42

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