FORCE RECON Barham, Robert L. II

John Robertson

Staff member
Robert L. II
  • UNIT
3 Recon Bn (3 MarDiv) (D Company)
  • RANK
Silver Star
South Vietnam 1967
from Santa Monica,California


Silver Star : The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Sergeant Robert Leon Barham, II (MCSN: 1960007), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Patrol Leader with Company D, Third Reconnaissance Battalion, THIRD Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 4 January 1967, Sergeant Barham's seven-man reconnaissance patrol was inserted by helicopter deep into enemy controlled territory northwest of Cam Lo. After leaving the helicopter, the patrol came under heavy automatic weapons fire from an estimated company of North Vietnamese troops. In the initial burst of enemy fire, the patrol's Corpsman was seriously wounded and the radio operator was killed. Quickly assessing the situation, Sergeant Barham deployed his men into defensive positions while he attempted to remove the radio from the mortally wounded Marine. Unable to remove the radio, and realizing the urgency for radio communications, he lay down in the exposed area and began to operate the radio while it was still on the Marine's back. From this extremely dangerous position, with enemy automatic weapons and machine gun fire falling all around him, Sergeant Barham skillfully directed air strikes upon the enemy positions. On three occasions, with complete disregard for his own safety, he stood up and fired tracer rounds at the enemy positions to mark them for the supporting aircraft. Although he was under heavy enemy fire for forty-five minutes, Sergeant Barham calmly remained at his position with the radio, guiding the extraction helicopters into the area and directing his patrol's fire on the enemy. When the helicopters landed, he manned his machine gun and provided covering fire while the casualties were loaded aboard the helicopters. Exhibiting exceptional leadership and concern for the welfare of his men, Sergeant Barham boarded the aircraft only after the members of his patrol were safely loaded and continued to deliver effective machine gun fire on the enemy positions as the helicopter departed the area. His exceptional professional skill and bold initiative inspired his men and were instrumental in the successful defeat of the enemy's attempts to overrun his patrol's position. By his extraordinary courage, superb leadership and unswerving devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, Sergeant Barham upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

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Force Recon Diary, 1969
By B. H. Norton, Bruce H. Norton