VAN T. BARFOOT, Second Lieutenant, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano, Italy. With his platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding ground, Sergeant Barfoot (then Technical Sergeant) moved off alone upon the enemy left flank. He crawled to the proximity of one machine-gun nest and made a direct hit on it with a grenade, killing two and wounding three Germans. He continued along the German defense line to another machine-gun emplacement, and with his Tommy gun killed two and captured three soldiers. Members of another enemy machine-gun crew then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sergeant Barfoot. Leaving the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to seventeen. Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly on his platton positions. Securing a bazooka, Sergeant Barfoot took up an exposed position directly in front of three advancing Mark VI tanks. From a distance of 75 yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it, while the other two changed direction toward the flank. Sgt. Barfoot’s extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of point-blank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers.
Mr. Barfoot has been a member of the Legion of Valor since 1985.