My name is Sergent First Class Billy R. Ervin, U.S. Army Ranger Retired. The
Information contained here-in is about Sergeant Robert Barfield and his brave deeds during The Battle of Boomerang. These facts are true to the best of my knowledge. To help one understand just how horrific this battle was, I will give my perspective, at times in detail immediately before, during and after this deadly encounter. Although I was not in Barfield's platoon, his heroic action was the talk of the Company from the time it happened until my departure some nine months later.
I joined Fox Company, 1st platoon during March 1953, as a Private just out of basic training. We were in a blocking position along the Wyoming line. The Belgian Battalion to our front was attacked by the chinese and had to be relieved. Fox Company was given this mission. The 1st and 2nd platoons occupied front line positions, my platoon was Company reserve. We conducted patrols out into no mans land and listening post duty.
Starting around the first of June our positions were shelled daily. It became more intense as the battle approached.
On the afternoon of June 12th, Lt. Cardenas ordered my platoon to occupy positions facing the rear slope of the 9th ROK Division on the right of our chow bunker. Around
2300 hours Fox Company's position came under artillery fire along with the ROKS to our right. The South Koreans could not hold and lost their position. The position was restored at daybreak. My platoon suffered three casualties from this action.
During early afternoon of the 13th, Cardenas had our 57mm recoilless rifle crew move up to 2nd platoon's position for direct support. We occupied positions of the previous night.
At 2230 hours the fight started and once again the ROKS lost their position. On this night the fight spilled over into a portion of 2nd platoon's position. Incoming artillery and mortar fire was in very high volume. As dawn approached we discovered that our entire recoilless rifle crew had been killed along with the 4.2 mortar FO and five other front line platoon members.
We spent most of the day on the 14th of June cleaning weapons, getting extra supplies of ammunition and preparing for what turned out to be on of the top three desperate battles of the Korean War. Cardenas moved my platoon across the tank trail and up a ridge behind our chow bunker. We occupied positions at a 90 degree right angle, facing the left flank of the 9th ROK Division. I occupied the forward most bunker, around thirty yards from Lt. Hotelling's Command bunker. Just before 2200 hours Fox Company came under very heavy artillery and mortar fire from the enemy. The ground shook like one continuous giant earthquake. I detected foot traffic to my rear and upon investigation discovered soldiers from the 9th ROK Division using the trench as an escape route. This information was reported to the platoon leader with subsequent instructions for me to move to the head of trench and prevent it's use by the enemy.
Incoming artillery fire shifted to the rear as small arms fire increased to our front. There was flickering lights all around Lt. Hotelling's Command bunker. It turned out to be flash lights taped to enemy weapons. For the next four to five hours I fired at every light that came into view. The tank to my front started backing down the tank trail and this allowed the chinese to move behind our position. One did not have to aim to hit the enemy, targets were plentiful. This was the area where Sgt. Barfield's heroic action took place. Around 0400 hours friendly troops counter attacked up the trail, past our tank and restored the line. Barfield's area looked like a battle scene from the movie ALAMO.
We were relieved just after dawn and traveled down the ridge to the chow bunker area that was being used as an aid station. As it came into view, the full horror of the night battle hit me in the face. The aid station was full of wounded and dying soldiers. There was also a pile of dead across the tank trail. Everything that has happened in my life since then pales when compared to that horrible scene. There was a Chaplain present and he kept mentioning Sgt. Barfield's name and as I moved around looking for platoon members, others were talking about him. It turned out that he had saved the life of Lt.
Hotelling, rescued at least three other soldiers from the jaws of the enemy, helped consolidate a depleted position and personally attacked groups of advancing enemy and caused them to retreat. It was common knowledge through-out Fox Company that Lt.
Cardenas had recommended Sgt. Barfield for the Medal of Honor.
I remained in military service, retiring in 1969. Throughout these years I taught small unit tactics to troops, many who eventually fought in Viet-Nam. At every opportunity the brave deeds of Sgt. Barfield were incorporated into my presentation, stressing Duty, Honor and Country. I would close by reminding them that no matter how difficult a battle situation becomes, remember the bravery of Barfield and how he helped turn what could have been defeat into a major victory for Fox Company.
Recently it was brought to my attention that Sgt. Barfield had not received the award he so rightly deserves. Our Country can not place a statute of limitations on bravery. He has earned the right to be considered for the Medal of Honor. If additional information is required of testimony in person, I am willing to travel anytime, anyplace and anywhere on Sgt. Barfield's behalf.
This statement was notarized on
07-30-2011 By Heather Draschil
State of Hawaii
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