September 7, 2001
The White House
Dear President Bush,
This letter is in reference to Robert Barfield of Groveland , FL and his recommendation for the “Medal of Honor.”
Barfield's wife has sent you a packet of information so I will not go into details about his heroics except to say that if ever a man deserved the “Medal of Honor” it is he!
From one lifetime republican to another, I pray you will involve yourself personally in this matter. Please Mr. President, this is no letter that you don't have the time it'll make me sick!!
On 9/20/2000 I personally appeared before the army Awards Board on Barfield's behalf. I explained why Barfield deserved the “Medal of Honor.” Also present was Bernard Sarisohn of New York , who stated: “He was ordered to type Barfield's recommendation for the “Medal of Honor” sometime in June 1953, did so and personally handed it to the commanding officer.”
I am a retired officer of the US Army and a retired fraud investigator for the state of Ohio. Bernard is a retired attorney from New York .
Besides Mr. Sarishon, and myself Barfield, has two other eyewitnesses to his actions. Mr. Thomas Innocenti, a school principal from W VA and another, Bob's ex assistant squad leader from CA, Rene Silva.
The board was also presented over 1900 signed petitions from citizens from around the country in support of the “Medal of Honor for Mr. Barfield and over two dozen letters of support. I have enclosed a copy of one letter to show you just how deeply some people feel about Barfield's heroics.
Believe me sir, if not for Sgt. Barfield I would not be here today. I consider him my savior!
The Awards Board stated: “there was insufficient evidence that his actions warranted either the “Medal of Honor” or the “Distinguished Service Cross,” yet the preponderance of the evidence shows otherwise! Four statements from four living witnesses, a recommendation from the company commander Lt. Col (Ret) Cardenas and a statement from the battalion executive officer, James Kerr, Phd of MD who stated: “had he known at the time of Sgt. Barfield's actions, he'd approved an award up to the “Medal of Honor!”
What more evidence does one board need? This board was made up of five civilians, three men and two women. Mr. Barfield was not given the right to be questioned by combat tested officers who I feel he should have had the right to.
In Barfield's paperwork were several references to Congressman Mica of FL and Congressman Jenkins of TN. To be eligible for an upgrade to the “Medal of Honor” a congressman must approve a request for an upgrade. The board had two approvals for upgrades from two different congressmen. Yet one board member stated to Sgt. Barfield: “That they had no record of him being recommended for the medal.” When Barfield told the board member that his ex commanding officer had sent it to the board two years prior the board member stated again: “that they had no record of it.” Mr. Hubert Shaw Jr. analyst for the board postponed the meeting temporarily to go ask Mr. Sarishon and myself who were in another room if we knew of such a recommendation. We informed him that there was such a recommendation from Lt. Col (Ret) Cardenas of CA. After the board meeting was over Mr. Shaw returned to our room and told us they had found the recommendation. Again I reiterate this was after the meeting was over, unbelievable!
There are several mistakes in the summary of the board meeting. It turned out to be a humiliating experience for Mr. Barfield.
The board had many months to prepare for this meeting, yet they did not have before them Mr. Barfield's recommendation for the “Medal of Honor!” We all traveled to Arlington VA at our own time and expense. The board should have been better prepared.
Recently ex President Clinton awarded the “Medal of Honor” to a Civil War veteran Andrew Smith for saving the units colors after the flag bearer was shot down. Though it was a brave act, was it any more heroic than Mr. Barfield's? A thousand times no!! At the same time Mr. Clinton awarded the “Medal of Honor” to our late president Theodore Roosevelt Sr. after one hundred and three years! I ask you sir, did either of these men have witnesses to their deeds?
Mr. President let me give you some interesting facts:
Since 1984 forty men have been awarded the “Medal of Honor.”
32 from WWII
6 from Viet Nam
1 from Civil War
1 from the Spanish/American War
None from Korea !!
Percent of living recipients presented the MOH:
Viet Nam 37%
Korea 29 %
I have also included a chart on chances of dying, being wounded and prisoners unaccounted for from the last three major wars. As you can see by the statistics, Korean vets are the “Real Forgotten vets.”
In closing I would like to thank you for your time and pray this administration is not just another bag of wind.
Sincerely, Lewis A. Hotelling Major (Ret) United States Army
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