The President of the United States,
in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting
the MEDAL OF HONOR to:
CAPT. WILLIAM E. BARBER
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty as commanding officer of Company F in action against enemy aggressor forces.
Assigned to defend a 3-mile mountain pass along the division's main supply line and
commanding the only route of approach in the march from Yudam-ni to Hagaru-ri, Capt.
Barber took position with his battle-weary troops and, before nightfall, had dug in and
set up a defense along the frozen, snow-covered hillside. When a force of estimated
regimental strength savagely attacked during the night, inflicting heavy casualties and
finally surrounding his position following a bitterly fought 7-hour conflict, Capt.
Barber, after repulsing the enemy gave assurance that he could hold if supplied by
airdrops and requested permission to stand fast when orders were received by radio to
fight his way back to a relieving force after 2 reinforcing units had been driven back
under fierce resistance in their attempts to reach the isolated troops. Aware that leaving
the position would sever contact with the 8,000 marines trapped at Yudam-ni and jeopardize
their chances of joining the 3,000 more awaiting their arrival in Hagaru-ri for the
continued drive to the sea, he chose to risk loss of his command rather than sacrifice
more men if the enemy seized control and forced a renewed battle to regain the position,
or abandon his many wounded who were unable to walk. Although severely wounded in the leg
in the early morning of the 29th, Capt. Barber continued to maintain personal control,
often moving up and down the lines on a stretcher to direct the defense and consistently
encouraging and inspiring his men to supreme efforts despite the staggering opposition.
Waging desperate battle throughout 5 days and 6 nights of repeated onslaughts launched by
the fanatical aggressors, he and his heroic command accounted for approximately 1,000
enemy dead in this epic stand in bitter subzero weather, and when the company was relieved
only 82 of his original 220 men were able to walk away from the position so valiantly
defended against insuperable odds. His profound faith and courage, great personal valor,
and unwavering fortitude were decisive factors in the successful withdrawal of the
division from the deathtrap in the Chosin Reservoir sector and reflect the highest credit
upon Capt. Barber, his intrepid officers and men, and the U.S. Naval Service.
/S/HARRY S. TRUMAN