|David Bennes Barkley|
David Bennes Barkley, Medal of Honor
|Born||March 31, 1899|
|Died||November 9, 1918(aged 19)|
|Place of birth||Laredo, Texas|
|Place of death||Meuse River, France|
|Place of burial||San Antonio National Cemetery|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1917 - 1918|
|Unit||U.S. 356th Infantry, 89th Division|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Medal of Honor|
Croix de Guerre
Croce al Merito di Guerra
David Bennes Barkley (March 31, 1899 – November 9, 1918), often spelled Barkeley, was a United States Army private who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during World War I in France. After successfully completing a scouting mission behind enemy lines, he drowned as he swam back across the Meuse River.
Barkley was born in Laredo in Webb County in south Texas, to Josef and the former Antonia Cantú. He grew up with his Mexican-American mother. He enlisted in the Army when the United States entered what was then known as the Great War. He used his Anglo father's name to avoid being segregated into a non-combat unit.
As a part of Company A, 356th Infantry, 89th Division in France, he and Sergeant M. Waldo Hatler swam across the Meuse River near Pouilly-sur-Meuse to get behind German lines and gather information about troop strength and deployments. They were able to gather the needed information; however, returning across the river, Barkley was "seized with cramps and drowned". (This is the exact wording from his citation, duplicated below.) Sergeant Hatler survived to bring the information back to their unit.
Barkley was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, one of three Texans to be awarded the Medal of Honor during World War I. Additionally, France awarded him the Croix de Guerre, and Italy the Croce al Merito di Guerra.
Medal of Honor citationEdit
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company A, 356th §→→→→§ 89th Division. Place and date: Near Pouilly, France, November 9, 1918. Entered service at: San Antonio, Tex. Birth: Laredo, Tex. G.O. No.: 20, W.D., 1919. Citation
- When information was desired as to the enemy's position on the opposite side of the Meuse River, Pvt. Barkeley, with another soldier, volunteered without hesitation and swam the river to reconnoiter the exact location. He succeeded in reaching the opposite bank, despite the evident determination of the enemy to prevent a crossing. Having obtained his information, he again entered the water for his return, but before his goal was reached, he was seized with cramps and drowned.
Barkley has received three notable posthumous recognitions. In 1921, an elementary school in San Antonio, Texas, was named in his honor. On January 10, 1941, the U.S. Army installation, Camp Barkeley, was named in his honor. A clerical error resulted in the discrepancy in spelling. Finally, in 1989 when his Hispanic background was discovered, Barkley was recognized as the U.S. Army's first Hispanic Medal of Honor recipient.
David B. Barkley PlazaEdit
A memorial honoring the forty-one Hispanic soldiers who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor was built in Laredo in 2002 and named for Barkley. The David B. Barkley Plaza has a bronze statue of David B. Barkley and an American flag measuring 100 ft by 50 ft and is 308 ft tall making it the tallest flagpole in the United States. The memorial is located at Script error.
Awards and decorationsEdit
David Bennes Barkley's awards and decorations include the following:
- Medal of Honor
- Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster.
- World War I Victory Medal
- French Croix de Guerre with Palm medals (2)
- Croce al Merito di Guerra (War Merit Cross)-Italy
- List of Hispanic Medal of Honor recipients
- List of Medal of Honor recipients for World War I
- Private Marcelino Serna who also served in the 86th Division and became the most decorated soldier from Texas in World War I.
- ↑ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- James M. Myers: Barkley, David Bennes from the Handbook of Texas Online (2001). Retrieved December 23, 2008.
- "Barkley". Archived from the original on June 19, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060619025759/http://www.hispanicabilene.com/barkeley.htm. Retrieved July 14, 2006.
- "David B. Barkley". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7862494. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
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