Copyright © 2013 National World War II Museum. All rights reserved.
Barfoot first served with the 1st Infantry Division when he enlisted at Fort Benning, Georgia. With the 1st Division, he took part in the Louisiana Maneuvers, went to New York and then to Massachusetts. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, he was reassigned to the Headquarters of the US Army Atlantic Fleet at Norfolk, Virginia. His initial training was at a Marine Corps base but then he went to Norfolk. They trained the first 4 infantry divisions to be deployed in Europe. He was to go with them and was invited to join the last unit he trained, the 45th Infantry Division at Hampton Roads, Virginia and stayed at Camp Pickett for a few days. On 8 June 1943, they sailed to Africa for training to invade Sicily.Â When Barfoot joined the Army he was a private. He enlisted rather than be drafted. Early in his career he had training with the Civilian Conservation Corps [Annotator's Note: commonly referred to by the acronym CCC]. You got all of the basic training that the army received except for use of weapons. Barfoot decided he didn't want to go through that again so he enlisted.While in the CCC, he was in Kosciusko, Mississippi for a few months and then went to Oregon to help in control of the great forests that went all through the Pacific part of the United States. He spent 1 summer there and next winter went somewhere else. He got to go to Portland, Seattle and see a lot of the West Coast. Being in the Civilian Conservation Corps was very beneficial to his lifetime in the military. He was a group leader in the Civilian Conservation Corps and got to control 15 to 20 men who were 16 to 18 years old. He had no basic training in the Army at all. He could march and had his initial training with the 1st Division. He went on a maneuver in the Atlantic at an island and then came back to Boston to do some field training.On 7 December 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked. On 28 December 1941 was when the group was formed to go to Quantico and organize the Amphibious Force Headquarters, Atlantic Fleet. He stayed there until sometime in late May 1942. They put 3 divisions and 1 regimental combat group through training in Solomon, Maryland. That was a great experience because he got to meet a lot of people at a lot of different ranks. His job was to control the beaches for security and personal property and give guidance and instructions to people that didn't know where they were going. It was a good chance to meet thousands of soldiers. But, after he got to his unit in Camp Pickett and was going to learn about his squad, he only got 4 or 5 days before they shipped out. They got to know each other on the ship over and in North Africa.They arrived in Sicily and had a very successful landing. It wasn't really combat, more like moving a few people out of the way until they could get to the main forces. There was not much opposition as far as Germans against American forces for the 45th Infantry Division in Sicily. Barfoot remembers the war really began when they crossed the channel into Italy. The 45th went through Salerno and he had the opportunity to lead a patrol across the Saline River up to the town of Paestum where the Germans were withdrawing from several days of fighting. Barfoot felt he had fine troops and they had become a professional fighting force after Salerno. They moved up to Venafro where the Germans held up for winter and recalls they ran into some serious fighting. They were in the lead platoon and attacked the Germans on the edge of the mountains. They had one of the most difficult days of the war and lost a lot of men. After staying there a while, they moved back to Venafro and received orders to move out again. Barfoot led the platoon right back to the same place and this time he was recommended for the Silver Star and got it after they got to Anzio sometime later.He was awarded the Silver Star and suggests others read his citation, but basically he lead several patrols into the German lines, he personally eliminated the German unit Headquarters. One time in that area, he took three officers out of the unit on a patrol out front to show them the terrain around January 2nd [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: 1944]
All oral histories featured on this site are available to license. The videos will be delivered via mail as Hi Definition video on DVD/DVDs or via file transfer. You will be purchasing the oral history in its entirety but will be free to use only specific clips. Please contact the Museum at email@example.com if you are interested in licensing this content. Please allow up to two weeks for file delivery or delivery of the DVD to your postal address. See more information at http://ww2online.org/faqs.