General Barrow on Women in Combat

Thursday, February 7, AD 2013

Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  General Robert H. Barrow, 27th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, testifies against women in combat in 1991.  Every word he said then is equally true today, but now our Generals and Admirals tend not to be war fighters like Barrow, but politicians in uniform.

Barrow was an expert on combat.  He dropped out of college in 1942 to enlist in the Marine Corps as a buck private who rose to drill instructor and then went to officers candidates’ school.  After he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant he spent much of the War fighting behind Japanese lines in China as a guerilla.

During the Chosin Resevoir Campaign in Korea he and his company took the vital pass at Koto-ri against a larger and heavily fortified Communist Chinese force.  For this he earned the Navy Cross, the second highest award for valor in the Marine Corps.  Here is his Navy Cross citation:

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Robert H. Barrow (0-23471), Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Commanding Officer of Company A, First Battalion, First Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Koto-ri, Korea, on 9 and 10 December 1950. Ordered to seize and occupy the high ground on Hill 1081 dominating the pass below and held by a heavily-fortified, deeply-entrenched enemy of approximately battalion strength controlling all approaches to his company’s objective, Captain Barrow boldly led his company up the ice covered, windswept, razor backed ridge in a blinding snowstorm and, employing artillery, mortars and close air support, launched a well-coordinated attack. With his forward assault platoon suddenly brought under withering automatic weapons, small-arms and mortar fire from commanding ground as they moved along the narrow snow-covered ridge toward a bare mountain top studded with hostile bunkers and foxholes, he fearlessly advanced to the front under blistering shellfire, directing and deploying his men and shouting words of encouragement as they followed him to close with the enemy in furious hand-to-hand combat. Reorganizing his depleted units following the bitter conflict, he spearheaded a daring and skillful enveloping maneuver, striking the enemy by surprise on the right flank and destroying many emplacements as he continued the final drive up the steep slope in the face of heavy automatic weapons and grenade fire to secure the objective with a total loss to the enemy of more than 300 dead and wounded. By his gallant and forceful leadership, great personal valor and fortitude maintained in the face of overwhelming odds, Captain Barrow aided immeasurably in insuring the safe passage of the FIRST Marine Division through this hazardous pass, and his inspiring devotion to duty throughout reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

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