Corporal Robert C. Barnes

For extraordinary heroism while serving as a squad leader with Company B. Third Reconnaissance Battalion, Third Marine Division (Reinforced), in the Republic of Vietnam on 17 December 1966. Corporal (then Lance Corporal) Barnes was the assistant patrol leader of a nine man reconnaissance patrol penetrating deep into enemy controlled territory. Sighting two Viet Cong on a hill during the course of an ambush which the patrol was conducting, Corporal Barnes fired on them, mortally wounding one Viet Cong. Receiving instructions from the patrol leader to check out the area, Corporal Barnes and three men advanced toward the hill. Before they were half way to their objective the small team suddenly came under a hail of automatic weapons and machine gun fire from these same Viet Cong and an additional force of equal size. At this point, with the two teams separated and out of communications, the patrol was in imminent danger of destruction by the withering fire and advancing enemy. After surveying the situation, Corporal Barnes unhesitatingly led his small team into a fierce and direct assault on the enemy position. Shouting encouragement and directions, he bravely directed his men in an almost impossible advance across 200 meters of open terrain through heavy automatic weapons fire. Corporal Barnes personally accounted for two enemy killed and several wounded. In the face of this fiercely determined and unexpected assault, the enemy was forced to withdraw. By his courageous actions, inspiring leadership and loyal devotion to duty, Corporal Barnes reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.