Thursday, December 3, 2009

WWII vet fights homeowners group over Va. flagpole | National News |

Retired Colonel Van T Barfoot, 90, is one of our oldest Congressional Medal of Honor winners. He won the medal for his action at Carano, Italy on May 23, 1944 during the Second World War.

Below, the details of his citation for the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Carano, Italy, 23 May 1944. Entered service at: Carthage, Miss. Birth: Edinburg, Miss. G.O. No.: 79, 4 October 1944.
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.

This man, who demonstrated such extraordinary gallantry and heroism on that day 65 years ago bought a 21 foot flag pole in September and placed it in front of his Richmond, VA home. The 90 year old rises and hoists the flag each dawn, and at sunset each day he lowers it.

Col. Barfoot has been told by his local home owners to remove the flag pole or face a lawsuit. They cite the flag pole violates aesthetic guidelines for the neighborhood. He has been given a deadline of 5:00PM Friday to comply.

Its not about politics or liberal vs. conservative, ladies and gents. Its a matter of right and wrong. And few deserve to fly the flag they fought for, killed for, and risked their lives for more than this elderly gentleman.

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