Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War I - U.S. Army

John Lewis Barkley

  • Rank: Private First Class
  • Conflict/Era: World War I
  • Unit/Command:
    Company K, 4th Infantry,
    3d Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: October 7, 1918
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Cunel, France

Pfc. Barkley, who was stationed in an observation post half a kilometer from the German line, on his own initiative repaired a captured enemy machine gun and mounted it in a disabled French tank near his post. Shortly afterward, when the enemy launched a counterattack against our forces, Pfc. Barkley got into the tank, waited under the hostile barrage until the enemy line was abreast of him and then opened fire, completely breaking up the counterattack and killing and wounding a large number of the enemy. Five minutes later an enemy 77-millimeter gun opened fire on the tank point-blank. One shell struck the drive wheel of the tank, but this soldier nevertheless remained in the tank and after the barrage ceased broke up a second enemy counterattack, thereby enabling our forces to gain and hold Hill 25.

Medal of Honor Recipient John L. Barkley
Medal of Honor Recipient John L. Barkley
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Blairstown, Henry County, Missouri
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Born: August 28, 1895, Blairstown, Henry County, MO, United States
  • Died: April 14, 1966, Shawnee Mission, KS, US
  • Buried: Forest Hills Cemetery (PM) (50-132), Kansas City, MO, United States
  • Location of Medal: National World War I Museum at the Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, MO

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