In honor of Military Appreciation Month, Alpha will be recognizing various service members throughout the month of May. First up is Harvey C. “Barney” Barnum Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient that the Alpha team had the honor of meeting at this year’s Military Bowl.
Barnum was a Marine Corps officer who received the Medal of Honor for valor in the Vietnam War. In 1965, he was assigned to a unit in Vietnam as an artillery forward observer with Company H, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. On December 18, 1965, at the age of 25, Lieutenant Barnum took over command of a rifle company when its commander had been killed in an intense firefight with enemy troops. Not only did he assume control of the company, but he immediately reorganized the badly mauled company into defensive positions and led a series of counterattacks that eventually destroyed the enemy forces. He did all of this while directing close air support and medical evacuation of wounded Marines.
For this act of bravery and dedication to duty, the young officer was awarded the Medal of Honor. During a subsequent tour to Vietnam, he also received the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars and one Navy Achievement Medal for valor. Colonel Barnum retired from the Marine corps in 1989 and held a number of key government positions, including Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Reserve Affairs). In honor of Colonel Barnum's heroic service to the United States of America, in July 2016, the U.S. Navy named its newest Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, DDG-124, the USS Harvey C. Barnum, Jr.
In recognition of Colonel Barnum and his service, Alpha designed a one-of-a-kind jacket honoring his military service and receipt of the Medal of Honor.