Segment 3

Annotation

Barfoot recalls difficult times when they landed in Southern France, he was the Platoon Leader and had been promoted to Lieutenant and had joined another company. He led the 1st Platoon of their unit over the beaches. Their objective was to knock out an enemy position that was the communications center for the coastal artillery along the beach. They fought through grape vineyards, down a hill and into a plaza area of Sainte Maxime, France where they had to move undetected. They did so and were able to open the door and get into the communication center and blow it up. It was difficult and fortunately Barfoot didn't have anyone wounded. After they left there, the Germans had established defensive positions above the town. They were well dug in and it was probably two companies or a battalion sized group. Barfoot's unit was in the back of the company. He had a good Lieutenant with him that killed a sniper there [Annotators note: hard to understand what city]. They got into a sheltered area and a sniper shot Barfoot's 2nd Lieutenant bar off his helmet and the bullet ran over and down his head. Barfoot's radio operator/runner was able to shoot him out of the tree. They lost several initially and one of Barfoot's men was wounded. This was a difficult day, after they took the town of Sainte Maxime.Barfoot feels that the history of the Third Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division will better tell the story of what individual combat was like rather than him go into much more detail or many more stories. They made it through Sainte Maxime and made it to the Rhone River and other areas they had to fight. When Barfoot got to Rambersvillers [Annotators note: unsure of spelling] someone came to him and told him to report back to Headquarters. When he got back there, the 45th Division Commander came up and told him that he had been awarded the Medal of Honor. Barfoot requested that they award it to him while he was still in France. They did so at Epinal and pulled his platoon out of action for the event. They can be seen in the background of some of the photos of his award ceremony.They were the men of 3rd Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion of 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division.Barfoot was asked if he wanted to come back to the United States to be awarded the Medal of Honor, but he chose to do it with his men present. He notes that most people were awarded by the President. Barfoot didn't give it much thought when he found out he was being awarded the Medal of Honor. He felt that he hadn't done more there than he had done elsewhere. He just did his job and tried to save the lives of the people that were helping him. He felt it was not a big thing for a man in combat to think about medals, awards or recognitions. He just thinks about getting the job done. Barfoot feels that he did all he could. He never asked a soldier or anyone to do any task that he couldn't or wouldn't do if he was in the same position. He didn't send anyone out to do a special task that he wouldn't do or hadn't already done. He made sure to get the maximum out of every man he had in his unit. No shirkers and fortunately he was the leader of one of those units. Not only as a squad leader, platoon leader and later on in his career as a battalion commander and while in Vietnam had a larger job and never had any problems.When Barfoot was sent back to the United States to sell war bonds, it was not something he would have selected to do or was adapted to. But, as long as it helped the war effort, he saw it as another job to do. He enjoyed meeting people and felt they were friendly and eager to find out what was going on with their relatives, friends and family that were in the war. He could tell them about his experiences or the men that were with him, but he couldn't tell these people what their loved one was doing. And he didn't try to embellish or detract from any of the actions. He honestly told them what he saw and there were some things he didn't share because no one outside of the combat area should know. He feels that is one of the problems of today. We hear too much information from the combat zone. In hearing too much by inexperienced people and without understanding what things are all about, we get distorted ideas and positions in life. We get confused and get Americans confused. Barfoot feels that is one of the biggest problems of today's military. Too many stories are coming out of the same room.

$60.00
Product: 

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 digitalcollections@nationalww2museum.org 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.