Vietnam Personal Accounts

1St Sgt. Barnett Person, USMC (Retired)

Alpha Co., 3rd Tanks
1st Sgt. Barnett Person




Among the five honorees were two battlefield heroes, Silver Star medal recipient Barnett Person of Fort Worth, Texas, and Bronze Star with V device for valor recipient Jack McDowell of Long Beach, Calif.


Person, a retired first sergeant decorated with the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in Vietnam, also received two Purple Hearts in Vietnam. Person said he was hit by enemy fire on May 8, 1967, and again on Aug. 29.


The tank retriever driver and later a tank gunner said wasn't wounded during the Korean War.


The Silver Star citation cited Person for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a platoon sergeant with Company A, 3rd Tank Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, in Vietnam.


The decoration's citation stated that during the early morning hours of May 8, 1967, the area in which Person's and other units came under intense enemy mortar and artillery fire from a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force.


When the enemy penetrated the perimeter defenses in several place, "Person reacted instantly, calmly directed his 90 mm canister fire into the oncoming Viet Cong," the citation read. "Disregarding enemy attempts to destroy his tank by exploding satchel charges against the turret, Person fearlessly increased his fire, employing both his main armament and his machine guns.


The citation said he "was responsible for killing more than 40 North Vietnamese soldiers, preventing the perimeter from being overrun and undoubtedly turned what could have been a potentially dangerous situation for friendly troops into a complete rout of a numerically superior enemy force."