Wednesday’s Hero – Col. Van T. Barfoot


Col. Van T. Barfoot
Col. Van T. Barfoot
91 years old
from Henrico County, Virginia
157th Infantry Regiment,
45th Infantry Division

U.S. Army

In December 2009 Van T. Barfoot made national headlines when he wanted to fly his American flag in his yard but was told to take it down by his homeowners association.

It’s still flying proudly today.

But that’s just one small event in the life of Mr. Barfoot.

Long before he decided to fly that flag he defended it during W.W.II.

Barfoot joined the Army in 1940 and was shipped to Italy in 1943 where distinguished himself in 1944 when, in the course of a single day:

he advanced alone through a minefield

took out a German machine gun with a hand grenade

single handily killed eight German soldiers,

captured seventeen German soldiers

disabled a tank with a bazooka

…and then returned to his own lines and helped two of his own wounded squad members.

All which earned him the Medal Of Honor.

So it comes as no surprise that when he wanted to fly the American fly he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

“…In December 2009, the homeowners’ association (HOA) of the Sussex Square, where Barfoot lives in Henrico County, Virginia, ordered him to remove the flagpole from which he flies the American flag. This news story first became public when Barfoot’s son-in-law reported the story on local talk radio show, Elliot in the Morning. The news story was soon picked up by Fox News and followed by several other national news networks. The HOA retained Coates & Davenport to help enforce their order. The association’s bylaws do not forbid flagpoles, but the HOA ruled Barfoot, aged 90, would not be allowed to use it “for aesthetic reasons.” Barfoot contested the order, and received support from politicians, including Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb, and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Barfoot won when the association dropped its request on December 8, 2009, effectively ending the controversy…”

“…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….”

You can read more about Col. Barfoot here

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Pet

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Wednesday Hero Logo