Medal of Honor Citation

Colonel Harvey C. Barnum, Jr., the fourth Marine to earn the Medal of Honor for valor in Vietnam, was born 21 July 1940, in Cheshire, Connecticut. He was president of his Senior Class at Cheshire High School, where he also played football and baseball. In high school, he was a member of the Boy Scouts of America, the “C” Club and the Gym Leaders Club.

After graduation from high school, he entered St. Anselm’s College in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he graduated with a B.A. Degree in Economics in June 1962.

He joined the Marine Corps’ Platoon Leaders Class program in November 1958, and attended two summer training sessions, one in 1959 and the other in 1961. Upon graduation from St. Anselm’s, he was commissioned a Marine Reserve second lieutenant.

Second Lieutenant Barnum was ordered to Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, where he attended The Basic School until December 1962, when he began the Artillery Officers Orientation Course, graduating in February 1963. He was then ordered overseas and joined Battery A, 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, 3d Marine Division on Okinawa. He served first as a forward observer and then as the Battalion’s liaison officer. In July 1964, he accepted appointment in the regular Marine Corps. Prior to completing his Okinawa tour, he also served as the battalion liaison officer. He was promoted to first lieutenant in December 1964.

Transferred to the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing in April 1964, 1stLt Barnum was assigned as the Wing’s Career Advisory and Personal Affairs Officer. During Exercise Steel Pike, a landing exercise in Spain, he served as the Wing’s Security Officer. Upon returning to the United States from Spain, he was assigned as Officer in Charge, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing Classified Files.

Detached in March 1965, he then served as Guard Officer, Marine Barracks, U.S. Naval Base, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii.

From December 1965 until February 1966, 1stLt Barnum served on temporary duty in Vietnam. As an artillery forward observer with Company H, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division, Lieutenant Barnum’s actions on 18 December 1965, earned him the Nation’s highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor. He was promoted to captain in June 1966, after he returned to Hawaii.

From March until August 1967, Capt Barnum attended the Associate Field Artillery Officers Career Course, Fort Still, Oklahoma. Transferred to HQMC, he served as Aide-de-Camp for LtGen Lew W. Walt then the Assistant Chief of Staff for Manpower and subsequently the Assistant Commandant from September 1967 until October 1968.

In October 1968, Capt Barnum returned to Vietnam where he served as Commanding Officer of Battery E, 2d Battalion, 12th Marines, 3d Marine Division. With the 3d Marine Division redeployment from Vietnam to Okinawa in September 1969, he remained with that unit until the following October. For his service in this capacity, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” and Gold Star in lieu of a second award, the Navy Achievement Medal with Combat “V”, the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Silver Star.

Upon his return from Okinawa, Capt Barnum was assigned as a weapons instructor at The Basic School, Marine Corps Development and Education Command, Quantico, where he served until August 1970 at which time he entered the Amphibious Warfare School, graduating in February 1972.

He served as Operations Officer, 2d Battalion, 10th Marines, Camp Lejeune beginning in March 1972, and was promoted to major, May 1972, to lieutenant colonel in December 1978, and to colonel in February 1984.

Colonel Barnum retired from the Marine Corps in August 1989 after more than 27 years of service.

A list of his medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” and Gold Star in lieu of a second award, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal with Combat “V,” the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy Unit Commendation, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Star, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Silver Star, the Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. 

Vietnam War 1965-1973 Medal of Honor

Marine Corps University