Story of Month – September 2016

Bravely Paid the Highest Price for Another. 

By: Haley Blanchard (A Winner of the 2016 DKWF Scholarship)

A hero is one that would bravely pay the highest price for another. As the only granddaughter of Robert Charles Barfield, I proclaim with the utmost conviction that he is truly a hero.

The Battle of Boomerang occurred on June 14th and 15th of 1953. During the battle, my grandpa went above and beyond his calls of duty, fighting the Chinese forces in hand-to-hand combat. In the midst of the horrific battle, the American forces were desperately in need of help to stop the Chinese from advancing. Major Lewis Hotelling sent his company runner, “Red,” to the company C.P. to seek help.

Red arrived, finding the C.P. completely deserted as the Chinese had been attacking it earlier in full force. Red tried to return to the trench lines, finding it empty, but was hit in the legs in the process. Hearing his desperate calls for help even from about 30 yards away, Barfield left the trenches and attacked the Chinese in front of him with grenades. One of the Chinese was standing over Red about to shoot him, when my grandfather bayoneted him. He saved Red’s life that night and carried him on his shoulders all the way back to the trench line.

On the very same night my grandfather further proved his heroism, risking his life once again for Major Lewis Hotelling. In an account of the battle, Major Lewis Hotelling recalls thinking multiple times that the battle would lead to his death, and that very night would be his last. He was fighting on a trench line and had used up all of his ammunition. Wounded twice already, Hotelling was swinging his carbine like a baseball bat, trying to fend off any Chinese that he could. Suddenly, an explosion occurred rocketing Hotelling into a nearby trench. He remembers looking up to see my grandfather fighting off Chinese, while standing over the trench.

A noteworthy excerpt from this account proved my grandfathers faithfulness and true humility:

At this time, I was being dug out of the rubble and I realized my right foot had been practically blown off. It was hanging by just a piece of hamstring on the back of my ankle. Sgt. Barfield tried to stem the bleeding by tying an empty bandoleer to my leg, using it as a tourniquet. He stood me up and tried to get me to the aid station which we thought was 20-30 yards away. Between us and the aid station, however, the Chinese were still coming through the gap beneath Tank Road . Sgt. Barfield, at that time laid down a field of fire, killing or wounding, from what I remember, 15-20 Chinese soldiers. What happened to the Chinese after that, I don’t know, but they quit coming through the gap. They then pulled me and dragged me to the aid station. Several times while on the way to the aid station we were fired on by the Chinese. Sgt. Barfield shielded me with his own body while he returned fire. I know if it had not been for Sgt. Barfield I would have died in Korea that night.

My grandpa is a man of dignity, honor, and commitment. His heart is full of love and compassion, which led to his willingness to risk his life for others. He fought for liberty and freedom, which do not come free. He has shown me what a true hero is and for that I will forever be grateful and indebted to him.