On Dec. 18, 1965, then-1stLt. Harvey Barnum was serving as an artillery forward observer with Company H, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines in Vietnam. The company suddenly became pinned down by a hail of accurate enemy fire and separated from the remainder of the battalion by over 500 meters of open and fire-swept ground. Casualties mounted rapidly. Barnum quickly made a hazardous reconnaissance of the area, seeking targets for his artillery. Finding the rifle company commander mortally wounded and the radio operator killed, he, with complete disregard for his own safety, gave aid to the dying commander, then removed the radio from the dead operator and strapped it to himself. He immediately assumed command of the rifle company, and moving at once into the midst of heavy fire, rallying and giving encouragement to all units, reorganized them to replace the loss of key personnel and led their attack on enemy positions from which deadly fire continued to come. His sound and swift decisions and his obvious calm served to stabilize the badly decimated units and his gallant example as he stood exposed repeatedly to point out targets served as an inspiration to all. Provided with two armed helicopters, he moved fearlessly through enemy fire to control the air attack against the firmly entrenched enemy while skillfully directing one platoon in a successful counterattack in the key enemy positions. Having thus cleared a small area, he requested and directed the landing of two transport helicopters for the evacuation of the dead and wounded. He then assisted in the mopping up and final seizure of the battalion’s objective. For his gallant initiative and heroic conduct, Barnum received the Medal of Honor. After 27 years of service, he retired as a Colonel. (U.S. Marine Corps photos)
Four Marines from Marine Corps Base Quantico saved the lives of a father and son on the Potomac River in Nanjemoy, Maryland, June 14, 2020.
The Marines planned to spend the overcast Sunday relaxing on the water and having a picnic before the incident occurred.
As we approach our country’s 244th birthday and I approach my 80th, it has been over 62 years since I signed away 4 years of my life and took an oath to protect and defend America and the U.S. Constitution. I was proud of that oath then, passionate about it today. Now, as I watch what is occurring on the streets across the nation, I am compelled to ask myself – “Was it worth it? Do these people deserve what we have preserved for them?”
Was freedom of religion, speech, assembly and a free press worth it? I see churches being vandalized. I see powerful corporations, politicians and individuals cowering before those who threaten their livelihoods dare they speak in opposition. I see universities aid and abet the silencing of speakers whose views don’t concur with those of a student body still too young, inexperienced and ignorant to see what they risk losing. I see a vast news media that has largely lost its integrity, the art of great journalism lost in the muck of partisanship.
Was it worth it to protect the right to the opportunity to own a home or business, or to an education? I see law enforcement having their hands tied by elected officials, forced to stand by as private businesses are looted and burned, innocent citizens threatened, all while they are subjected to be spat upon, hit by rocks or bricks, their vehicles burned, all to appease a rabble that will not be appeased, does not intend to be appeased, that Intends to destroy what we sacrificed to give them.
Was it worth it? I know that without our sacrifice – that of my Marine Corps, all the other services, cops, firefighters, our intelligence services and federal agents – those who now threaten to tear down what we have preserved would be facing a harsh justice unencumbered by the restraints of our Constitution.
Was it worth it? When I see mothers in crime ridden minority neighborhoods crying over the bodies of toddlers, or teenage sons and daughters slaughtered in their streets. I cringe for them as their kids get processed through schools to face a technological world as illiterates; opportunity denied them by long embedded corruption in the system.
But I have lived free for a third of the time our country has existed and we have survived crises multiple times. This one is different. Those who would do us harm believe that their moment has arrived, that our form of government can be taken down. But I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren that still have a chance to live as free as I have as long as there are still men and women who take that oath. We have taken them this far. I believe they will ensure we survive again. I believe that my children’s children will know the blessings of true freedom. So, yes, it was worth it.
MARINE OF THE WEEK // “We had to buckle down. There was no time to dwell.”
Sgt. Ken Rick
1st Battalion, 7th Marines
Afghanistan, June 22-23, 2012
Award: Silver Star
After the completion of an air assault into an Afghan village, then-Sgt. Ken Rick (now a Staff Sgt.) and his squad were attacked from multiple positions by high volumes of medium machinegun and indirect fire. Rick subjected himself to the enemy fire four times to employ his M4 carbine and M203 grenade launcher accurately while directing his squad’s maneuver. By his leadership, Rick’s squad served the enemy with devastating firepower and forced their immediate withdrawal. Later that day, with complete disregard for his own safety, Rick forfeited cover and ran out of their patrol base, covering 200 meters of open ground to lead a security team and recover a mortally wounded Marine. Though enemy rounds impacted within feet of his position as the security team maneuvered to the patrol base, Rick calmly directed his squad’s fires. He remained outside the patrol base, suppressing the enemy until all of his Marines were safely inside. The following day, Rick again led his squad in countering a complex ambush. The precision fire he employed from his grenade launcher destroyed two enemy fighters and oriented close air support aircraft onto their targets, ultimately leading to the destruction of the enemy.
I was thinking this same thing as I escorted my Daddy to the barber shop for his Marine haircut. He’s had a rough year. Agent Orange has taken a toll on him, and I almost lost him this Winter when his heart stopped. Happily, the Gunny is still one tough badass Marine! He’s still with me, thank God and good friends!
I understand the meaning of being a mechanic on the F18. When the program first started on the F18 at Northrop I was selected as one of the managers to review areas of the F18. Was reassigned to other departments as a department managers, but eventually in 1992 was assigned to the F18 A/B/C/D line as manager as ME support manager. What a transition from other assignments over the years back to the F18 program. Yes, you can be proud of what and how we made this excellent fighter become and the military members (Marines) who proudly maintained, flew and continue to keep it in the air. I am proud to have worked on the F18. To all Marines that worked on this fighter, Semper Fi. Be proud, you did a great job and those that came after, keep them FLYING.
(Article from Stars & Stripes 1969)
MARINE RIFLE CO MIXES IT UP WITH REDS
By Sgt. Bill Dahl
DA NANG, Vietnam (Special) – Headquartered at Red Beach, eight miles north of Da Nang, the Force Logistic Command (FLC) provides supply and maintenance support for Marine air and ground units throughout Vietnam’s northern I Corps area. Providing the main security for the sprawling headquarters complex at Camp Jay K. Books is the job of the Provisional Rifle Co. The company is composed of volunteers from units within FLC. The Marines who volunteer for the four-to-six month stint may be an office clerk or a forklift operator, but regardless of their jobs, these Leathernecks live up to the old adage that all Marines are basically riflemen. Men of the Provisional Rifle Co. conduct patrols and set up ambush sites. Often accompanying the Marines are Vietnamese scouts and Rangers. The “Kit Carson” scouts are former Viet Cong who have rallied to the government. Both the scouts and the Rangers have extensive knowledge of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army tactics and have proven invaluable in aiding FLC Marines on patrol. The many villages surrounding the FLC compound pose special prolems for base security. Communists try to infiltrate these villages, posing as civilians. Marines and their South Vietnamese counterparts check identification cards of villagers who do not have the proper identification.
Two days after Christmas 1971 I went to Paris Island to follow my brother and uncle. I was in 1Bn Plt 101. One of the funniest times was a few weeks before Graduation, nothing could bothers us the, our SDI S/SGT Haskell liked getting in your face telling the recruit to get in it. This meant to lean over into his fingers so he could squeeze your breathing tube. Like I said a few weeks before graduation he would that to a recruit and the platoon would all lean forward to see who was getting the breathing treatment.
June 6, 1944 marks the 76th Anniversary of Allied Forces landing on a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified Normandy coastline. Comprising British, Canadian and American soldiers, the invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history with more than 73,000 American soldiers making the initial landings with the support of nearly 7,000 US Navy vessels. Although Marine Corps involvement in the Pacific theater of World War II is well known, there were some Marines that participated in the European campaign as well. Marine Major General Robert O. Bare was awarded the Bronze Star for his efforts on D-day and obtaining valuable intel as an observer attached to British Assault Force J. See these photos from the Robert O. Bare Collection depicting what he saw on the beaches of Normandy!
MARINE OF THE WEEK:
Sgt. Franklin Simmons
2nd Battalion, 7th Marines
Farah, Afghanistan, Aug. 8, 2008
Award: Silver Star
In August 2008, then-Cpl. Franklin Simmons was serving in Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines as a Force Recon platoon team leader and designated marksman. While conducting clearing operations in the village of Shewan, Cpl. Simmons’ platoon was ambushed by a numerically superior enemy force. Volleys of intense rocket propelled grenade and machine gun fire disabled one of the platoon’s vehicles and trapped several Marines in the kill zone. Without regard for his own safety, Cpl. Simmons exposed himself to intense enemy rocket propelled grenade and machine gun fire as he crawled to the top of a berm to locate targets with his Mark 11 sniper rifle. He resolutely ignored enemy machine gun rounds impacting within a foot of his position as he calmly employed his weapon to kill the enemy firing at his fellow Marines in the kill zone. Remaining in this exposed position to get the necessary observation of his targets, he killed an estimated 18 enemy fighters and wounded at least two others. Cpl. Simmons’ devastating fires during an 8-hour battle in oppressive heat were critical in saving the lives of his fellow Marines