John L. Barkley

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John Lewis Barkley
John L. Barkley - WWI Medal of Honor recipient.jpg
Medal of Honor recipient
Born(1895-08-28)August 28, 1895
Kansas City, Missouri
DiedApril 14, 1966(1966-04-14) (aged 70)
Place of burial
Forest Hill Cemetery, Kansas City, Missouri
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1917 - 1919
RankPrivate First Class
UnitCompany K, 4th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division
Battles/warsWorld War I
AwardsMedal of Honor

John Lewis Barkley (August 28, 1895 - April 14, 1966) was a United States Army Medal of Honor recipient of World War I. Born in Blairstown, Missouri, near Holden, Barkley served as a Private First Class in Company K, 4th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division. He earned the medal while fighting near Cunel, France, on October 7, 1918. His autobiography, "Scarlet Fields: The Combat Memoir of a World War I Medal of Honor Hero," details his service leading up to and following his Medal of Honor action.[1] The book draws comparisons as the American literary response to "All Quiet on the Western Front." Barkley died in 1966, and is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Kansas City, Missouri.[2]

Medal of Honor Citation[edit]

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company K, 4th Infantry, 3rd Division. Place and date: At Cunel, France; October 7, 1918. Entered service at: Blairstown, Missouri. Birth: August 28, 1895; Blairstown, Missouri. General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 44 (April 2, 1919).


Private First Class Barkley, who was stationed in an observation post half a kilometer from the German line, on his own initiative repaired a captured enemy machinegun and mounted it in a disabled French tank near his post. Shortly afterward, when the enemy launched a counterattack against our forces, Private First Class Barkley got into the tank, waited under the hostile barrage until the enemy line was abreast of him and then opened fire, completely breaking up the counterattack and killing and wounding a large number of the enemy. Five minutes later an enemy 77-millimeter gun opened fire on the tank pointblank. One shell struck the drive wheel of the tank, but this soldier nevertheless remained in the tank and after the barrage ceased broke up a second enemy counterattack, thereby enabling our forces to gain and hold Hill 25.[3]

Military Awards[edit]

Barkley's military decorations and awards include:

Silver star
Bronze star
1st row Medal of Honor World War I Victory Medal w/ one silver and one bronze service star to denote credit for the Aisne, Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Defensive Sector battle clasps. Médaille militaire (French Republic)
2nd row Croix de guerre 1914–1918 with bronze palm (French Republic) Croce al Merito di Guerra (Italy) Medal for Military Bravery (Kingdom of Montenegro)

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. ^ John L. Barkley, "Scarlet Fields: The Combat Memoir of a World War I Medal of Honor Hero"
  2. ^ "John L. Barkley". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  3. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". Medal of Honor for World War I. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-29.

External links[edit]