Destroyer to be named for Vietnam hero, MOH recipient Barnum

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, left, poses with retired Marine Col. Harvey C. Barnum Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient, at Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., Thursday, July 28, 2016. An Arleigh-Burke class destroyer will be named after Barnum, who was presented the military's highest honor for valor during the Vietnam War.


By AARON KIDD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 28, 2016

An Arleigh-Burke class destroyer will be named after Medal of Honor recipient Harvey C. Barnum Jr., a retired Marine Corps colonel cited for valor during the Vietnam War.

“It is a great honor to name this ship in recognition of Col. Barnum,” Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus told a ceremony at Marine Barracks in Washington, according to a Navy statement. “I have no doubt that all who serve aboard her will carry on the legacy of service and commitment exemplified by this Marine Corps hero.”

President Lyndon Johnson presented Barnum, then a first lieutenant, the nation’s highest military honor in 1967 “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” for his actions at Quang Tin Province in December 1965.

Barnum took over command of a rifle company after its commander was killed in an ambush and directed the counterattack, “moving at once into the midst of the heavy fire, rallying and giving encouragement to all units, [reorganizing] them to replace the loss of key personnel and led their attack on enemy positions from which deadly fire continued to come,” his citation said.

After retiring from the Marine Corps in 1989, Barnum served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as principal director of drug-enforcement policy. He also served as deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Reserve Affairs from 2001-09, and as president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

The USS Harvey C. Barnum Jr., which will be built at Bath Iron Works in Maine, is expected to join the Navy fleet in 2024, the statement said. It will be 509 feet long, have a beam length of 59 feet and be capable of operating at speeds in excess of 30 knots.

The Barnum is the sixth ship Mabus has named after a Medal of Honor recipient. The others are John Finn, Ralph Johnson, Thomas Hudner, Daniel Inouye and Hershel “Woody” Williams.

Twitter: @kiddaaron

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that Arleigh-Burke class destroyer DDG 124 will be named the USS Harvey C. Barnum Jr. in honor of the retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel who received the Medal of Honor for valor during the Vietnam War. The ship will be constructed at Bath Iron Works, a division of General Dynamics, in Maine, and is expected to enter the Navy fleet in 2024.

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