FORCE RECON Barnes, Robert Charles

John Robertson

Staff member
Robert Charles
  • UNIT
3 Recon Bn (3 MarDiv) (B Company)
  • RANK
Lance Corporal + Corporal
Navy Cross, Silver Star
South Vietnam 1966
from Nashville,Tennessee


Navy Cross : The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Corporal [then Lance Corporal] Robert C. Barnes (MCSN: 2083790), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as a squad leader, with Company B, Third Reconnaissance Battalion, THIRD Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in the Republic of Vietnam on 17 December 1966. Corporal Barnes was the assistant patrol leader of a nine-man reconnaissance patrol penetrating deep into enemy controlled territory. Sighting two Viet Cong on a hill during the course of an ambush which the patrol was conducting, Corporal Barnes fired on them, mortally wounding one Viet Cong. Receiving instructions from the patrol leader to check out the area, Corporal Barnes and three men advanced toward the hill. Before they were halfway to their objective the small team suddenly came under a hail of automatic weapons and machine gun fire. At the same time, the remainder of the patrol also came under fire from these same Viet Cong and an additional force of equal size. At this point, with the two teams separated and out of communications, the patrol was in imminent danger of destruction by the withering fire and advancing enemy. After surveying the situation, Corporal Barnes unhesitatingly led his small team into a fierce and direct assault on the enemy position. Shouting encouragement and directions, he bravely directed his men in an almost impossible advance across 200 meters of open terrain through heavy automatic weapons fire. Corporal Barnes personally accounted for two enemy killed and several wounded. In the face of this fiercely determined and unexpected assault, the enemy was forced to withdraw. By his courageous actions, inspiring leadership and loyal devotion to duty, Corporal Barnes reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Silver Star : The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lance Corporal Robert Charles Barnes (MCSN: 2083790), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Scout Team Leader with Company B, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, THIRD Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with combat operations against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam, on 3 October 1966. As Point Man, Lance Corporal Barnes led a 150-man reaction force, consisting of a reconnaissance platoon and a rifle company, to assist a reconnaissance platoon which had been surrounded by Viet Cong forces near Phu Bai. Moving through the enemy infested territory, the reaction force was forced to use established trails because of the dense undergrowth. Shortly after leaving the landing zone, a Viet Cont hidden in the brush along the trail fired a round at Lance Corporal Barnes but missed. Due to a malfunction of his rifle, Lance Corporal Barnes was unable to return fire. Undaunted, he switched weapons and continued down the trail. Within an hour, he made contact with two more Viet Cong, killing one and wounding the other. Advancing stealth fully, he began searching the area along the trail when he saw five of the enemy approaching. As yet unobserved, he immediately opened fire, killing one and wounding another. Realizing the likelihood that additional Viet Cong were lurking in his path, he courageously pushed ahead to seek out the enemy. Within the next hour, he killed three more of the enemy, again saving the reaction force from a possible ambush. With calm assurance, Lance Corporal Barnes again proceeded forward, alert to the slightest indications of impending danger to his comrades. Almost immediately, he made a fifth contact with the enemy, killing one and wounding his companion who had moved in cautiously to investigate the shooting. Finally, the reaction force linked up with the reconnaissance platoon, and he guided the combined units back to the landing zone without incident. Throughout the mission, Lance Corporal Barnes exhibited exceptional knowledge of scouting and patrolling methods. His accurate marksmanship resulted in the deaths of six Viet Cong and wounds to at least three more. In addition, he captured seven weapons and a large number of grenades, ammunition, documents and assorted combat equipment. He was instrumental in enabling the reaction force to move rapidly through extremely dangerous territory to the completion of their mission without suffering any casualties. By his extreme courage, professional skill, and daring initiative, Lance Corporal Barnes upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

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Force Recon Diary, 1969
By B. H. Norton, Bruce H. Norton
Force Recon Diary, 1970
By Bruce H. Norton