As Americans go about their daily lives, getting caught up in the grind we tend to take a lot of things for granted. When we flip the light switch, the lights turn on. When we open the faucet, cool, clean, fresh water flows out of it. Our veterans have no such trouble remembering the gifts we have. The greatest among those gifts has been that which so many of their comrades gave on the battlefield. In the heat of the moment it may have been simply to save the lives of the men and women next to them, but in total it represents a dedication to a greater altruism that few of us will ever have the privilege of seeing with our own eyes.
With this in mind, Bergmann & Moore presents to you a weekly blog post highlighting combat citations throughout American military history.
In reading their stories, the rest of us who have never seen combat can take one small step towards understanding veterans and welcoming them home. It is our hope that these posts will lead our readers to leave their own remembrances in the comments section, allowing for a free and open discussion about the people they have known, their actions, and how they have left an impact on all of our lives.
Without further adieu, we present Charles Barker, who fought in the Korean War. His citation speaks for itself:
*BARKER, CHARLES H.
Rank and organization: Private First Class (then Pvt.), U.S. Army, Company K, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Sokkogae, Korea, 4 June 1953. Entered service at: Pickens County, S.C. Born: 12 April 1935, Pickens County, S.C. G.O. No.: 37, 7 June 1955. Citation: Pfc. Barker, a member of Company K, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. While participating in a combat patrol engaged in screening an approach to “Pork-Chop Outpost,” Pfc. Barker and his companions surprised and engaged an enemy group digging emplacements on the slope. Totally unprepared, the hostile troops sought cover. After ordering Pfc. Barker and a comrade to lay down a base of fire, the patrol leader maneuvered the remainder of the platoon to a vantage point on higher ground. Pfc. Barker moved to an open area firing his rifle and hurling grenades on the hostile positions. As enemy action increased in volume and intensity, mortar bursts fell on friendly positions, ammunition was in critical supply, and the platoon was ordered to withdraw into a perimeter defense preparatory to moving back to the outpost. Voluntarily electing to cover the retrograde movement, he gallantly maintained a defense and was last seen in close hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. Pfc. Barker’s unflinching courage, consummate devotion to duty, and supreme sacrifice enabled the patrol to complete the mission and effect an orderly withdrawal to friendly lines, reflecting lasting glory upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the military service.
(citation courtesy of history.army.mil)