RIP: COL (Ret) Van T. Barfoot, Medal of Honor winner
The Washington Post reports that COL (Ret) Van T. Barfoot has died at the age of 92. Colonel Barfoot was awarded the Medal of Honor, the United States' highest award for valor, for his actions in service to the nation in World War II.
A few years ago Colonel Barfoot was in the news because his homeowner's association objected to the flagpole outside his home. He won that fight too, at the age of 90.
Reading his Medal of Honor citation, I get the impression that Colonel Barfoot wasn't much afraid of anything on this earth. Here's an excerpt:
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.
After single handedly destroying or capturing three machine gun nests, you might think he'd call it a day. But no.
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.
A "Mark VI tank" was also known as the German Tiger tank. Yeah, that one; the tank with an 88mm gun that could destroy other tanks with a single shot.
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. ... 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.
He later served in Korea and Vietnam. Rest in peace, Colonel. I'd say you earned it.