A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Oh Say can you See?

Back in December 2009, I began to read about Medal of Honor recipient Van T. Barfoot's fight with his homeowners association. It seems the homeowner's association forbade the flying of flags on a free standing flagpole based on asthetics, and the old vet wanted to fly Old Glory properly outside his home. When he was denied a permit for a free standing flagpole, Col. Barfoot erected one on his property anyway.

The Sussex Square Homeowners Association first threatened legal action. Colonel Barfoot remained unswayed. After the story of the old soldier's struggle began making the military blogs, the mass media was coerced into paying it some mind. Then the homeowners association went into damage control mode.

I may be late, but I recently learned that The Sussex Square Homeowners Association has agreed to drop threats of legal action against the 90-year-old veteran of three wars. Col. Barfoot's star spangled banner yet waves.

Colonel Barfoot's MoH Citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano, Italy. With his platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding ground, 2d 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.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

And they thought they had a chance in Hell of getting him to take down his flag? Morons.


3:13 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

The man stared down three tanks at once singlehandedly.

The HOA never had a chance.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Keith said...

God be with you.

whatever you choose to do with the blog, that is your choice.

I've enjoyed coming here for about 4 years now, I value your wisdom and insight. You've helped me with info, you've inspired me. You also astonished me when you tracked down the creep who was threatening you.

That is only one side thouh, you have a Family, a home and a job, all of whom/which have a greater claim on your time than we do.

Whatever your choice (and you can put it off as long as you like or need), God bless you, and thankyou.


5:43 PM  
Blogger Montie said...

I too was following this story and was quite pleased that Col. Barfoot won out in the end. The story could only have been made better if something along the lines of the following had occurred.

"The three members of the Home Owners Association board walked up to Col. Barfoot's home intent on serving notice that he was in violation of the HOA order to take down his flagpole. After all who was this old coot thinking he could just do anything he wanted on his property. It might be his house, but he had to follow the rules just like everybody else. Who knows what could happen if they didn't enforce the ruling. Why, flagpoles and such could sprout up all over the neighborhood. Then instead of looking like one continuous addition, all in harmony, the houses might start looking like individual homes ruining the harmony of the neighborhood.

Just as the HOA president started to step onto Barfoot's porch, the Colonel stepped out his front door, with an M1 Garand rifle held solidly against his shoulder. The board members took a step back and the president said 'See here, Barfoot, we're only here to serve this order on you". Barfoot raised his head slightly from the M1's stock and said 'Get off my lawn.' The president stuttered 'N-n-now there's no need for this type of behavior'. Barfoot sneered and repeated louder this time, 'Get off my lawn!'.

The board hastily retreated and called the police, who after talking with both parties served each of the three board members with a summons for trespassing. The board president protested 'But he pointed a big gun at us.' The cop turned and said with a slight smile, 'You're lucky, when he won his Medal of Honor, that was the last thing most people he pointed his gun at saw. Oh, and don't call us again'."

Of course a nod to Clint Eastwood and "Gran Torino" should accompany this fantasy, and it would appear the board actually succumbed to the stink raised accross the country when this story went national thanks to Fox News.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Ret. Sgt. Sly said...

Well, Montie, that event would look good in some sort of picture show but in Virginia, that doesn't qualify as trespassing at all.

As much as I respect Colonal Barfoot for his service and his accomplishments, I must agree with those that say he is wrong. The covenants in his neighborhood forbade flagpoles, not the right the fly the flag.

I feel he is recieving special treatment due to his service record and people are seeing "MOH recipient challenged right to fly flag" and all the 1A people start to freak.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I can see why an assault by a home owners association would have little effect on this old soldier!


6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the sharing the amazing background on this gentleman. I had heard the news about the dispute but not the full story. We need to do more to honor our heroes.

12:09 PM  
Blogger chumgrinder said...

Ah, so their mistake was to confront a man who already had plenty of personal experience dealing with Nazis.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Montie said...

Ret. Sgt. Sly,

Having been a police officer for 25years come Sept. this year, I know that you are right. my little scenario was just a little use of "fictioal license" for my own entertainment. I certainly would not advise anyone to confront a simple trespass offence with a brandished firearm (although there was much delight in the audience when the scene occurred in the movie I referred to).

In the nieghborhood in which I currently live, there is no home owners association, but I have dealt with them in the past when I lived in a newer suburban development. I didn't have any problems but many people in the association balked when the board began to coalesce into a group of busybodies intent on establishing their own little petty fiefdom by the constant application of new rules voted on in sparsely attended meetings.

I fully understand that there was a covenant regarding the flagpole within the neighborhood. What I have never been able to ascertain was whether it was a newly enacted rule which came about AFTER the Colonel bought his house or was it in place beforehand. Also, did it specifically address the issue of flagpoles (which are normally not very obtrusive)or did they decide it fell under some other structural descriptor which they decided to apply to the flagpole.

Of course all of this is moot, inasmuch as the HOA folded under the outpouring of national scorn over their treatment of an MOH winner, whether justified by HOA covenant or not.

IMHO, they should have just given him an exemption in the first place because IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Sankey Photography said...

That man is honorable, patriotic, loyal, proud and noble.

But mostly... He is a BADASS.

9:01 PM  
Blogger R Ryan said...

Ret. Sgt. Sly said:

"I feel he is recieving special treatment due to his service record ..."

In my opinion, he deserves special treatment.

11:09 AM  

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