John Andrew Barnes III

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John Andrew Barnes III
PFC Barnes
Born (1945-04-16)April 16, 1945
Boston, Massachusetts
Died November 12, 1967(1967-11-12) (aged 22)
Kontum, Vietnam
Place of burial Brookdale Cemetery Dedham, Massachusetts
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch USArmy flag.jpg United States Army
Years of service 1965 - 1967
Rank Private First Class
Unit 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade
Battles/wars Vietnam War 

John Andrew Barnes III (April 16, 1945 – November 12, 1967) was an American Private First Class in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. For conspicuous gallantry in the Battle of Dak To, Barnes received the Medal of Honor.


Barnes was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He entered the Army in 1965 and received basic training at Fort Pickett.[1] He was dispatched to Vietnam as part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade on May 31, 1966. Serving in Company C of the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry, Barnes was assigned as a grenadier. On November 12, 1967, while patrolling in the Kontum province, Barnes' unit was attacked by a North Vietnamese battalion. During the battle, Barnes manned a machine gun that had lost its crew to enemy fire and was credited with nine enemy kills. While retrieving more ammunition, Barnes dived on top of a grenade that had landed among American wounded in order to use his body to protect them from the blast. The grenade exploded, killing Barnes.

PFC Barnes was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

Barnes was buried in Brookdale Cemetery in Dedham, Massachusetts. His name inscribed on Panel 29E - Row 084 of the Vietnam War Memorial.

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry 173d Airborne Brigade. Place and date: Dak To, Republic of Vietnam, November 12, 1967. Entered service at: Boston, Mass. Born: April 16, 1945, Boston, Mass.


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Barnes distinguished himself by exceptional heroism while engaged in combat against hostile forces. Pfc. Barnes was serving as a grenadier when his unit was attacked by a North Vietnamese force, estimated to be a battalion. Upon seeing the crew of a machine gun team killed, Pfc. Barnes, without hesitation, dashed through the bullet swept area, manned the machine gun, and killed 9 enemy soldiers as they assaulted his position. While pausing just long enough to retrieve more ammunition, Pfc. Barnes observed an enemy grenade thrown into the midst of some severely wounded personnel close to his position. Realizing that the grenade could further injure or kill the majority of the wounded personnel, he sacrificed his life by throwing himself directly onto the hand grenade as it exploded. Through his indomitable courage, complete disregard for his own safety, and profound concern for his fellow soldiers, he averted a probable loss of life and injury to the wounded members of his unit. Pfc. Barnes' extraordinary heroism, and intrepidity at the cost of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.[2]

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