Charles H. Barker

Ranked #173 on the list Best Military Person of All Time

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About Charles H. Barker

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Charles Heyward Barker (April 12, 1935 – June 4, 1953) was a United States Army soldier in the Korean War who received the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor. Born on April 12, 1935, in Pickens County, South Carolina, Barker joined the Army from that county in 1952. He served in Korea as a private with Company K of the 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. During the Battle of Pork Chop Hill on June 4, 1953, near Sokkogae, his platoon was on patrol outside the Pork Chop outpost when they surprised a group of Chinese soldiers digging entrenchments. Barker and another soldier provided covering fire with their rifles and grenades while the rest of the platoon moved to a better position on higher ground. As the fight intensified and ammunition ran low, the platoon was ordered to withdraw to the outpost. Barker volunteered to stay behind and cover the retreat; he was last seen engaging Chinese soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. Barker was initially classified as missing in action, then declared dead one year after the battle. He was posthumously promoted to private first class and, on June 7, 1955, awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Pork Chop Hill.

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