Jun. 15, 1919 Edinburg Leake County Mississippi, USA
Mar. 2, 2012 Richmond Henrico County Virginia, USA
World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He served in the United States Army during World War II as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery near Carano, Italy, on May 23, 1944. His citation reads "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. With his platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding ground, 2nd Lt. Barfoot (then Tech. Sgt.) moved off alone upon the enemy left flank. He crawled to the proximity of 1 machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand grenade, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans. He continued along the German defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun killed 2 and captured 3 soldiers. Members of another enemy machinegun crew then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. 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 17. Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at his platoon positions. Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed position directly in front of 3 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 2 changed direction toward the flank. As the crew of the disabled tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot killed 3 of them with his tommygun. He continued onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech. While returning to his platoon position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts, assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety. Sgt. Barfoot's extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of pointblank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers." He was awarded his Medal on September 28, 1944, in Épinal, France. Van Barfoot served in the United States Army during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, rising to the rank of Colonel.