The Marine Corps has a long-established history, which is cherished and preserved by all Marines who earn the title. The History and Museum Branch’s Base Archives Section aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton works to aid in preserving the history and distinguished legacy of the Marine Corps.
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.
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.
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
While enjoyable to read stories of family members carrying on the
tradition and old friends reuniting, it’s even more fantastic when
you get to experience this:
1985 in Korea, 2nd Lt. Taggart on the left, Cpl. Thornton, M.A. on
Fast forward 27 years…
MARINE OF THE WEEK // He refused to leave a fallen Marine behind…
Sgt. Eubaldo Lovato
1st Battalion, 8th marines
November 11, 2004
Operation Phantom Fury, Fallujah, Iraq
Award: Silver Star (upgraded from Bronze Star)
During the second battle for Fallujah, then-Corporal Lovato and his squad was ordered to clear a house. What the Marines did not know is that insurgents had barricaded themselves behind sandbags in one room.
When a fire team entered the room, Cpl. Travis Desiato was killed immediately by a barrage of AK-47 fire and fell to the floor. The insurgents put up such a volume of fire that the other Marines could not retrieve their comrade. The Marines fired blindly, unable to see the enemy fighters behind their barricade.
Lovato and the others in his squad could see Desiato on the ground. They tried calling out to him but he didn’t answer. A group of five Marines including Lovato made several attempts to reach Desiato ’s body. They threw C4 plastic explosives into the room, but it generated so much smoke that the Marines could not see anything. Then one Marine attached part of a shattered mirror to a stick, which allowed him to see where the insurgents were.
Pinned by enemy fire, Lovato manuvered to retrieve more grenades, with bullets passing through his pants pockets and sling.
Eventually Lovato was able to crawl to reach his Marines and asked a tank to blast the back of the building. The Marines stormed the building and killed the enemy inside. Lovato retrieved Desiato’s body.