My name is Lewis Hotelling. I live at 182 Morman Road, Hamilton, Ohio 45013, phone number 513-868-3009. The facts I am about to give are true to the best of my knowledge. The facts concern Sgt. Robert Barfield while serving in Korea in my platoon 2nd Platoon, Fox Company, 2nd battalion, 7th Regt. 3rd Division.
During the period of June 14th and 15th, 1953 on an outpost called Boomerang, under heavy attack from Chinese forces, Sgt. Barfield conducted himself above and beyond the call of duty while engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the Chinese forces on three different occasions, risking his life to save fellow soldiers and performing great acts of heroism. At approximately 9:30 p.m. on the night of June 14th, Fox Company came under heavy artillery bombardment and preparatory fire prior to the Chinese assault on our positions. The artillery was terrifically effective on our positions causing, many, many casualties.This preparatory fire continued for approximately tow hours, then at approximately 11-11:30 p.m, the Chinese began their assault on the left section of our platoon sector. This particular sector was covered by Sgt. Barfield and his squad. This section was being attacked by several hundred Chinese forces. Just the overwhelming presence of the enemy made it impossible to stop them, and they overran our positions. For the next two hours approximately, it was back and forth with the Chinese as they overran our platoon until we pushed them back. The fighting was hand-to-hand combat all during this time, with Sgt. Barfield spearheading his squad in stopping the Chinese many times, right in their tracks.
The Chinese had taped flash lights to the barrels of their burp guns enabling them to see in the dark, especially for the use in the trenches. They would come through the trench lines throwing grenades and fire into the bunkers using their flashlights to find the entrances. Everywhere you looked there were flashlights, I mean hundreds of flashlights. In fact, the whole area was so lit up it seemed like daylight. With the moonbeams (search-lights) and flares, it made it very easy to see in any direction you looked except down in the trench lines where it was dark. At this point, the Chinese had breached our wire and they were coming in from the left side of the trench line into the trenches and up over the hill. Sgt. Barfield, spotting the break in our line, and armed with a BAR, took some men and personally charged forward, firing as he went and stopping the Chinese dead in their tracks, and forcing them back. During this period of time, Sgt. Barfield single-handedly killed most of the lead Chinese coming through this break. He then repositioned his squad and laid down an effective area of automatic weapons and rifle fire to stop the Chinese from coming any further up the trench lines. The Chinese, realizing they were stopped in this area, moved further down to enable them to come up behind us. They moved approximately 15-20 yards down the hill, coming up on our left side toward our company C.P.
The 2nd Platoon was the right flank of our battalion. In fact, the 2nd Platoon tied in with the South Korean Corp, and we were the corp right flank. The Chinese turned the attack into an open spot in the South Korean sector coming down what was called the Tank Road , which left an opening directly into our positions. We needed help badly on the right hand side of the platoon sector. I dispatched a runner to the company C.P. to see if he could get some help over on the right hand sector to stop the Chinese. All of our communications were out, there was no way to contact anyone anywhere, within the platoon or at company level, by wire. I sent my company runner, “Red” to the company C.P. to get help. From what I found out later, the C.P. was empty, there was no one there. The Chinese were attacking the C.P. in force.
Red had somehow gotten inside the C.P. Finding it empty, he left the bunker and tried to return to the trench lines. As he was attempting this he was hit in the legs. He could not stand up and started calling for help. Barfield, about 30 yards away, heard and saw Red crawling for the trench line. Barfield left the trenches and attacked the Chinese in front of the C.P. with grenades and automatic weapons fire. One of the Chinese was standing over Red ready to shoot or bayonet him when Sgt. Barfield bayoneted the Chinese soldier. Barfield then picked up Red and took him to the C.P. while receiving fire from the Chinese. The C.P. was empty, but Sgt. Barfield, with a wounded man on his hands, left the C.P. carrying Red on his shoulders and made it back to the trench line. This action saved the life of my platoon runner. I advised Sgt. Barfield that we were going to have to consolidate the men we had left to the center of the battalion area to set up a blocking position. He would be on the left and I would be on the right. At this time, it was about 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. and we did not have many men left to function as riflemen to hold our position. Many of my men were either killed or wounded. The shells and artillery were coming in again just as strong as before. Everywhere you moved there was artillery coming in the trenches and outside the trenches. Anywhere you moved you chanced getting your head blown off.
On the right flank on Tank Road , we had a tank to help guard our front line positions. The tank played a very important part of laying down fields of fire to protect our right flank. I looked up and saw the tank, leaving the front line, backing down the hill, leaving us totally exposed on the right flank. I could see the Chinese, like somebody had opened a faucet, coming through the gap toward our positions and down the road towards the tank. The next thing I knew, there were Chinese all over the tank and the tank had stopped. We set up machine guns and automatic weapons to try and keep the Chinese off the tank and to protect our position from being overrun. When the Chinese hit our positions again, they hit us with such force that we were forced backwards. We again engaged in hand-to-hand combat for what seemed like hours, but was probably 15-20 minutes. I remember thinking, “This is my last night on Earth, you're going to die.”
I remember I was on the trench line standing next to a bunker. I had fired all of my ammunition, had thrown all my grenades, and artillery was falling all around me. I remember swinging my carbine like a baseball bat. I was swinging my carbine left and right trying to stop any Chinese I could. At that time I had already been wounded twice. Again I thought, “This is it,” when suddenly, a big explosion occurred. The next thing I knew, I was laying upside down at the bottom of a trench. I figured that's it, I'm dead. The next thing I knew, Sgt. Barfield was standing over me, talking to me. I looked up and Sgt. Barfield asked me if I was all right. At that time I couldn't talk, but tried mumble something. Sgt. Barfield had another man with him and they were trying to dig me out of the trench. In the meantime, Chinese were running up and down the trenches firing into the positions and throwing grenades. All I could do was lay there and watch. Sgt. Barfield, I know, killed at least 5 Chinese on top of the trench who were firing at us. I remember being about half conscious, but I distinctly remember asking Barfield, “Aren't you scared?" He answered and said, “No sir, I have a guardian angel!” And I believe he did, because he did not get a scratch during all that fighting.
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.
All of this reflects highly on the conduct of Sgt. Barfield in outstanding service beyond the call of duty in the service of his country. I believe that he should receive the highest award this country has to offer. I have also learned that Sgt. Barfield risked his life that night to save two other members of his squad who were severely wounded. One man, Private Douglas Ford died 5 days after the battle. The other was a South Korean solder attached to Barfield's squad. These acts of heroism were witnessed by his sniper, PFC Thomas Innocenti and his assistant squad leader, Rene Silva. I know that you have their notarized affidavits. Neither Mr. Innocenti, nor Mr. Silva were able to attend his hearing
This statement was notarized on
10-18-2000 By Carolyn Welsh
State of Ohio
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