“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Quantico in Prince William County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Barber Fitness Center

Barber Fitness Center Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin W., October 23, 2007
1. Barber Fitness Center Marker
Colonel William E. Barber
United States Marine Corps

Commanding Officer, Company F, Second Battalion
Seventh Marines, First Marine Division
Awarded the Medal of Honor, Chosin Reservoir, Korea, from
28 November to 2 December, 1950

This gallant Marine fought bravely for his Country

Topics and series. This memorial is listed in this topic list: War, Korean. In addition, it is included in the Medal of Honor Recipients series list.
Location. 38° 31.002′ N, 77° 18.154′ W. Marker is in Quantico, Virginia, in Prince William County. Memorial is on Barnett Avenue near John Quick Road, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2073 Barnett Ave, Quantico VA 22134, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jordan Hall (approx. 0.3 miles away); Mann Hall (approx. 0.4 miles away); Kelly Hall (approx. 0.4 miles away); John Henry Balch (approx. 0.4 miles away); H-3-7 Korea 1950 (approx. half a mile away); Crusading for Right (approx. half a mile away); Molly Marine (approx. half a mile away); Lieutenant General John Archer Lejeune (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Quantico.
Also see . . .
1. Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park. A 42 acre park in Irvine, CA where he lived following retirement until his death in 2002. (Submitted on October 23, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
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2. Interview with Colonel Barber about his experience at Toktong Pass. In the book, Beyond Glory: Medal of Honor Heroes in Their Own Words. (Submitted on October 23, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 
Additional commentary.
1. Biography of Colonel William E. Barber, USMC
Korean War 1950-1953
Medal of Honor Recipient

Colonel William E. Barber, who earned the Medal of Honor during the bitter Chosin Reservoir campaign in Korea in November and December, 1950, died April 19, 2002 at his home in Irvine, California. A captain at the time he won the Medal, he led his company in a desperate five-day defense of a frozen mountain pass vital to the 1st Marine Division's breakout to the sea.

Fighting in sub-zero temperatures against overwhelming odds, he was wounded on the first night of the action, but refused evacuation and remained in action in command of his company. He was presented the Medal of Honor by President Truman in ceremonies at the White House on August 20, 1952.

A World War II veteran and former paramarine, Colonel Barber earned the Silver Star Medal and his first Purple Heart as a second lieutenant at Iwo Jima, where he disregarded his own wounds and direct enemy fire to rescue two wounded Marines from enemy territory.

William Earl Barber was born November 30, 1919, at Dehart, Kentucky. He completed Morgan County High School at West Liberty, Kentucky, and attended Morehead (Kentucky) State Teachers College prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps in March 1940.

Upon completing boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, and parachute training at the Naval Air Station,
Barber Fitness Center and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin W., October 23, 2007
2. Barber Fitness Center and Marker
Lakehurst, New Jersey, he was designated a paramarine and assigned as a parachute instructor at the newly activated Parachute Training School, New River, North Carolina. In May 1943, he entered Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, and was commissioned a second lieutenant August 11 of that year.

Lieutenant Barber served with the 1st Parachute Regiment on the West Coast until 1944. Assigned as a platoon commander with the 26th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division, at Camp Pendleton, California, he embarked for the Pacific area and later took part in combat on Iwo Jima. After being wounded, he was evacuated and later returned to his unit, serving as company commander during the last two weeks of the operation. Shortly after, he was promoted to first lieutenant and again commanded the company during the initial occupation of Japan.

Returning to the United States in 1946, he performed recruiting duty in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, served as a rifle company commander with the 8th Marines, 2d Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Inspector-Instructor of the Marine Corps Reserve's Company D, Sixth Infantry Battalion, at Altoona and Philadelphia, respectively.

In October 1950, as a captain, he was ordered to Korea and took part in the action which earned him the Medal of Honor. Wounded on November 29, he was evacuated on December 8, and hospitalized in Yokosuka, Japan, until his return to the United States in March 1951. The following month, he joined the San Diego Recruit Depot as a company commander and later Executive Officer of the 1st Recruit Training Battalion. He was promoted to major in July 1952.

Major Barber completed the Advanced Infantry Course, Fort Benning, Georgia, in March 1954, then served as
Barber Fitness Center and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin W., October 23, 2007
3. Barber Fitness Center and Marker
Operations and Training Officer, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, Camp Lejeune. From 1956 to 1958, he served in Thailand as Assistant Naval Attache and Assistant Naval Attache for Air at the American Embassy in Bangkok. During the next four years he was assigned to Marine Corps Schools, Ouantico, and served as Assistant Chief Instructor of the Junior School. While there, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in April 1960.

Again ordered overseas, Lieutenant Colonel Barber joined the 3d Marine Division on Okinawa in July 1962 as Commanding Officer, Reconnaissance Battalion. Following his return to the United States, he served at Headquarters Marine Corps as Head, Combat Requirements Section, until January 1966 when he became Head, Marksmanship Branch, G-3 Division, and served in this capacity until July 1967. He was promoted to colonel, September 22, 1965.

Transferred to the 2d Marines, 2d Marine Division, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Colonel Barber served consecutively as Division Plans Officer, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence), and Commanding Officer of the 2d Marines, until May 1969.

Following that assignment, he was ordered to the Far East where he served his last tour of active duty as Psychological Operations Officer, III Marine Amphibious Force, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. For his service in this capacity, he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V. He retired from active duty, May 1, 1970. Besides the Medal of Honor, Silver Star Medal, the Legion of Merit with Combat V", and two Purple Hearts, Colonel Barber holds two Presidential Unit Citations, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (1940-1943) , the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one
Barber Fitness Center image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin W., October 23, 2007
4. Barber Fitness Center
battle star, the World War II Victory Medal, the Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia clasp, the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star, the Korean Service Medal with three battle stars, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, the United Nations Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
    — Submitted October 23, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.

2. Medal of Honor Citation
The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of Company F, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine (Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from 28 November to 2 December 1950. Assigned to defend a three-mile mountain pass along the division's main supply line and commanding the only route of approach in the march from Yudam-Ni to Hagaru-ri, Captain Barber took position with his battle weary troops and, before nightfall, had dug in and set up a defense along the frozen snow-covered hillside. When a force of estimated regimental strength savagely attacked during the night, inflicting heavy casualties and finally surrounding his position following a bitterly fought seven-hour conflict, Captain Barber, after repulsing the enemy, gave assurance that he could hold if supplied by air drops and requested permission
Colonel William E. Barber image. Click for full size.
Official U S M C Photo
5. Colonel William E. Barber
to stand fast when orders were received by radio to fight his way back to a relieving force after two reinforcing units had been driven back under fierce resistance in their attempts to reach the isolated troops. Aware that leaving the position would sever contact with the 8,000 Marines trapped at Yudam-ni and jeopardize their chances of joining the 3,000 more awaiting their arrival in Hagaru-ri for the continued drive to the sea, he chose to risk loss of his command rather than sacrifice more men if the enemy seized control and forced a renewed battle to regain the position, or abandon his many wounded who were unable to walk. Although severely wounded in the leg the early morning of the 29th, Captain Barber continued to maintain personal control, often moving up and down the lines on a stretcher to direct the defense and consistently encouraging and inspiring his men to supreme efforts despite the staggering opposition. Waging desperate battle throughout five days and six nights of repeated onslaughts launched by the fanatical aggressors, he and his heroic command accounted for approximately 1,000 enemy dead in this epic stand in bitter sub-zero weather, and when the company was relieved, only 82 of his original 220 men were able to walk away from the position so valiantly defended against insuperable odds. His profound faith and courage, great personal valor and unwavering fortitude were decisive factors in the successful withdrawal of the division from the deathtrap in the Chosin Reservoir sector and reflect the highest credit upon Captain Barber, his intrepid officers and men and the United States Naval Service.

    — Submitted October 23, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.
William E. Barber receiving the Medal of Honor from President Truman image. Click for full size.
Arlington National Cemetery Website
6. William E. Barber receiving the Medal of Honor from President Truman
Credits. This page was last revised on March 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 23, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,166 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 23, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.

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Apr. 15, 2024