WWI Medal Of Honor: PFC John Lewis Barkley

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Old No7
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WWI Medal Of Honor: PFC John Lewis Barkley

#1 Post by Old No7 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:36 am

I just read about this WWI Medal Of Honor recipient PFC John Lewis Barkley in the NRA's American Rifleman. The action took place just over 100 years ago. Pretty amazing what this fellow did, and I thought you'd all enjoy it too. (Below is a mix of info from that article and online sources, with some images.)

Old No7

WWI Medal Of Honor: PFC John Lewis Barkley

Barkley saw action in every major battle fought by the 3rd Division, one of the AEF’s most bloodied units, including the Second Battle of the Marne and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, where he earned the United States’ highest decoration for valor. On the afternoon of 7 October 1918, while occupying a lookout post in front of the American lines (the NRA article notes he was a sniper), he noticed a German force massing at the edge of some woods near the town of Cunel.

Realizing that an enemy counterattack was about to begin, on his own initiative he dragged an abandoned enemy Maxim machinegun and a pile of ammunition belts into a disabled French tank near his post. When the enemy launched a counterattack against our forces, Private First Class Barkley waited under the hostile barrage until the enemy line was abreast of him and then opened fire, completely breaking up the counterattack and killing and wounding a large number of the enemy.

So much return fire hit the tank it sounded like a hailstorm. Then an enemy 77-millimeter gun opened fire on the tank pointblank. One shell struck the drive wheel of the tank, knocking him unconscious -- but he awoke in time to engage and break up a second enemy counterattack, thereby enabling our forces to gain and hold Hill 25.

Barkley was credited with single-handedly fighting off a battalion-sized enemy attack. He later claimed that he was taken totally by surprise when, weeks later, fellow Missourian General John J. Pershing pinned the Medal of Honor to his chest.


PFC JFB 01.jpg

PFC JFB 02.jpg

PFC JFB 03.jpg
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Re: WWI Medal Of Honor: PFC John Lewis Barkley

#2 Post by Pitchy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:12 am

Hats off to him for sure, great courage. 8) :)
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Re: WWI Medal Of Honor: PFC John Lewis Barkley

#3 Post by M. M. Wright » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:55 am

Yep, quite a guy. Surely deserving of the honor.
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Re: WWI Medal Of Honor: PFC John Lewis Barkley

#4 Post by piller » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:06 pm

That 77mm shell hitting the drive wheel would have rung anyone's gong. To shoot at such close range means that the return fire is close range. He took one huge risk to his own life in order to save a bunch of men on his own side. He was awarded the right award for what he did.
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