RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement on the death of Colonel Van T. Barfoot:
“The flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia are flying at half-staff over the state Capitol building today in respect and memory of U.S. Army Colonel Van T. Barfoot. Colonel Barfoot was an American hero.
In 1944, four years after he enlisted in the United States Army, Sergeant Barfoot led a squad in the invasion of Sicily. On May 23, at his request, he led his squad through German minefields to get to enemy positions on the German flank, with minimal casualties. That day, Sergeant Barfoot destroyed two German machine gun nests, killed four German soldiers, took 17 prisoners and later repelled a counter-attack, disabling a German tank using a Bazooka rocket launcher and assisting in moving two of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a safe position. When he received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, on September 28, 1944, Lieutenant Barfoot received it in the field because he felt it was important not to leave his men. Throughout his long and exemplary career in the military, and after retiring in 1974, Colonel Barfoot was a true leader, putting others before himself and giving generously of his time and talents to his country and to his Commonwealth. It is with great sadness that we recognize the loss of a patriot and a hero, Colonel Van T. Barfoot.”
Governor McDonnell issued the following certificate of recognition in observance of the loss of Colonel Van T. Barfoot http://www.governor.virginia.gov/utility/docs/Colonel%20Barfoot.pdf