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'Consummate professional,' MOH recipient Barnum receives Lone Sailor Award

Medal of Honor recipient Barney Barnum receives a Lone Sailor statue while being honored at the 2018 Lone Sailor Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 20, 2018. At left, is Rear Adm. Frank Thorp, CEO of the Naval Memorial Foundation and at right Dr Jack London, Chairman of the Board CACI.

U.S. NAVY MEMORIAL

By CARLOS BONGIOANNI | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 28, 2018

WASHINGTON – Medal of Honor recipient Harvey C. "Barney" Barnum Jr. has received a fair share of awards and recognition in his lifetime.

Apparently, it doesn’t get old.

Three months ago, the retired Marine colonel learned he was one of two people selected to receive the 2018 Lone Sailor Award.

He was floored by the news, as a feeling of complete surprise and shock hit him. It was similar, he said, to what he felt two years ago, when he learned that the Navy decided to name a destroyer after him.

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“I got to tell you, I had the same unbelievable sensation throughout my body as I had when Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus called and said he was going to name a destroyer the Harvey C. Barnum, Jr. You know, ‘how could this be happening to me?’ ” Barnum recalled.

The Navy Memorial honored Barnum last week, during its annual Lone Sailor Awards Dinner, a posh, black-tie event with 500 guests in attendance. Navy veteran Bill Hannigan, a former AT&T president and chief operations officer, was the other award recipient. Hannigan served in the Navy as a radioman for six years before leaving the service as a first-class petty officer.

Barnum, 78, joked that “it takes three men and a work party to lift” the award, a bronze 15-inch-tall statue of the iconic Lone Sailor bundled up in a Pea coat and sporting the distinctive round Dixie cup hat that junior enlisted sailors wear.

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In a press release from the U.S. Navy Memorial, Retired Rear Adm. Frank Thorp, president and chief executive officer of the memorial, called Barnum the “consummate professional who earns the respect and admiration of everyone he meets.” In selecting awardees, the Navy Memorial considers veterans of the Navy or Marine Corps who have drawn upon their “Sea Service experience” to distinguish themselves in their subsequent careers and lives.

In 1965, then-1st Lt. Barnum demonstrated tremendous courage after enemy fighters ambushed his unit, mortally wounding the company commander and killing the radio operator. According to the Navy Memorial release, Barnum jumped into action, leading a counter-attack against overwhelming odds, charging a small hill and firing a rocket launcher at enemy positions. He also ordered his men to blow up a section of trees to make a clearing while he radioed for helicopters to come extract the casualties.

When word came that the helicopters couldn’t land, Barnum stood in the clearing open to hostile fire and radioed back “If I can stand here, by God, you can land here,” according to the release.

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For his bravery and heroic actions that day, Barnum was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1967. He then volunteered for a second tour to Vietnam. He retired from the military after 27 years of service with numerous other awards, including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with the combat valor device. Barnum then held many high-ranking positions as a civilian in the Defense Department.

Once the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer Harvey C. Barnum Jr. is commissioned, estimated to occur in 2024, Barnum said he will include the Lone Sailor statue as one of his personal mementos he plans to give to the ship. He also wants to give back what he can to the crew to show his appreciation for the honor bestowed upon him.

“To be recognized by your Navy and Marine Corps team is pretty awesome,” said Barnum who plans to offer his mentoring services to the crew.  “I'm going to spend a lot of time with that ship – good Lord willing – and pass on to them my experiences … the leadership traits – honor, courage, and commitment ethos – that all Marines follow throughout their careers.”

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Of all the awards and honors he has received in his military and civilian career, Barnum answered unhesitatingly when asked which one holds the most meaning. “My marriage certificate,” he said.

His wife, Martha – whom he married on June 27, 1992, at the Fort Myer base chapel in northern Virginia where the two live – said she never tires of all the recognition her husband receives.

“He's done a lot, and people like to recognize him for it. I'm very proud of him and what he's accomplished. The honors that he receives ... it's always a wonderful thing.”

bongioanni.carlos@stripes.com

Previous recipients of the Lone Sailor Award

2017

  • David Robinson

  • Christopher Gardner

  • Delbert Black & Ima Black

2016

  • Daniel D’Aniello

  • Sen. John H. Glenn, Jr.

  • Rear Adm. Robert H. Shumaker

2015

  • Adm. James S. Gracey

  • J. William Middendorf II

  • Robert S. Morrison

  • C. Michael Petters

2014

  • Sen. Samuel A. Nunn, Jr.

  • James A. Skinner

  • Robert J. Stevens

2013

  • Dan Akerson

  • Gen. Paul X. Kelley

  • Ted Turner

2012

  • Evertt Alvarez, Jr.

  • John Paul DeJoria

  • J. David Power III

2011

  • Lloyd V. "Beau" Bridges III

  • Jeffrey L. Bridges

  • Lloyd V. Bridges, Jr.

  • Gerald F. "Jerry" Coleman

  • Robert W.A. "Bob" Feller

  • Brian P. Lamb

2010

  • Lanier W. Phillips

  • Edward W. Lebaron, Jr.

2009

  • Lawrence P. "Yogi" Berra

  • Leonard A. Lauder

  • Frederick W. Smith

2008

  • A.G. Lafley

  • John H. McConnell

  • Arnold Palmer

2007

  • Tom Benson

  • Morgan L. Fitch, Jr., Esq.

  • Stan Musial

  • Sen. John W. Warner, Jr.

2006

  • Adm. William J. Crowe, Jr.

  • Arnold "Red" Auerbach

2005

  • Rear Adm. Grace Hopper

  • Sen. John McCain

2004

  • Benjamin Bradlee

  • Admiral Stansfield Turner

2003

  • Capt. Dan A. Carmichael

  • Joseph F. Cullman, III

  • Capt. James A. Lovell, Jr.

2002

  • Gordon M. Bethune

  • Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld

  • Rep. Floyd D. Spence

  • Rep. Bob Stump

2000

  • Nickolas Davatzes

  • Robert M. Morgenthau

  • President Theodore Roosevelt

  • John C. Whitehead

1999

  • Charles Francis Adams

  • Capt. Thomas J. Hudner, Jr.

  • President John F. Kennedy

  • Sen. John F. Kerry

1998

  • Eddie Albert

  • Amb. John Gavin

  • Adm. Hyman G. Rickover

  • Esther L. Snyder

1997

  • Ernest Borgnine

  • Capt. Winidred Quick Collins

  • Sen. Robert Kerrey

  • Austin H. Kiplinger

  • Edmund W. Littlefield

  • Henry Trione

  • Jonathan Winters

1996

  • Dr. Robert Ballard

  • Roger T. Staubach

  • Dr. Kathryn Sullivan

1995

  • President Richard M. Nixon

1994

  • Tony Curtis

  • Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

  • Adm. E.R. Zumwalt, Jr.

1993

  • James A. Michener

  • Allen E. Murray

  • Harold A. Poling

  • Rear Adm. William Thompson
     

In a 2012 photo, Medal of Honor recipient Harvey C. "Barney" Barnum Jr. stands in front of the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va.
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