Assigned Reading: Local WWII Vet Fights Homeowners Association
From what I’m hearing from friends and acquaintances on the Virginia coast, this story is everywhere, and was even before it was picked up in prominence on The Drudge Report. As well as it should be. I mean, this is your quintessential American hero, and when the family is quoted in the piece as saying that Colonel Van Barfoot is “the most decorated combat veteran alive,” they mean it.
For your reading pleasure, and your astonishment, here is Col. Barfoot’s Medal of Honor citation:
- Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division.
- Place and date: Near Carano, Italy, 23 May 1944.
- Entered service at: Carthage, Miss.
- Birth: Edinburg, Miss.
- G.O. No.: 79, 4 October 1944.
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 (then Tech. Sgt.) 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 pointblank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers.
The dispute in question is over Col. Barfoot’s placement of a flagpole in his yard in the HOA development. The association, it seems, wants to rationalize their decision by saying that it’s not the flag which is unwelcome, but the flagpole. While I understand some HOA regulations, here’s the thing on this one — people like Col. Barfoot are the reason that the flags flying in developments like Sussex Square show the Red, White and Blue and not some combination of red, white and black.
By the time this whole debate is over and done with, the association should not only permit him to keep the flagpole, but they should rename the entire development in his honor.