Famous Veterans

  • Arnold Palmer on golf course
    In Remembrance: 10 Famous Veterans Who Passed in 2016
    Military.com
    2016 saw the passing of many notable veterans. Here we celebrate a few of those who left us, and honor their achievements.
  • Bea Arthur
    Seven Famous Women Veterans
    Military.com
    From a computer genius to a popular sitcom star, talented women have made their mark in the U.S. military.
  • Morgan Freeman headshot.
    Famous Veteran: Morgan Freeman
    Military.com
    "I did three years, eight months, and ten days in all, but it took me a year and a half to get disabused of my romantic notions."
  • Chuck Norris
    Famous Veterans: Chuck Norris
    Military.com
    The martial arts superstar first started honing his skills while on duty in the Air Force during the Korean War.
  • Mr. T
    Famous Veterans: Mr. T
    Military.com
    Before he went on to fame as B.A. Baracus on "The A-Team," Mr. T was a member of the biggest team of them all -- the U.S. Army.
  • Bob Ross with a completed painting
    Famous Veteran: Bob Ross
    Military.com
    "I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late ...
  • clint eastwood director
    Famous Veterans: Clint Eastwood
    Military.com
    The famous actor and director got an early start on developing his tough-guy persona when he worked as a bouncer at the NCO clu...
  • Gene Hackman in the "French Connection."
    Famous Veteran: Gene Hackman
    Military.com
    "I have trouble with direction, because I have trouble with authority. I was not a good Marine."

Major Lance Cpl. Jedh Colby Barker

Marine Lance Cpl. Jedh Colby Barker (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)
Marine Lance Cpl. Jedh Colby Barker (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

New Englander's Bold Spirit Made Him A Hero In Vietnam

In the forests of Quang Tri, South Vietnam, rubber trees tapped for harvest resemble nothing so much as the maple trees of northern New England, where Lance Cpl. Jedh Colby Barker was born. The Marine's singular name and person reflected the ramrod-straight values of his birthplace.

Barker was a machine gunner with Company F, 2nd Battalion — "The Magnificent Bastards" of the 4th Marines, 3rd Division. On Sept. 27, 1967, his squad was on a reconnaissance operation in Quang Tri when they were hit by enemy fire. They deployed to a combat formation and advanced on the enemy position. They found it heavily fortified and were again struck, sustaining numerous casualties.

Barker was wounded in the initial firestorm but did not retreat. He "boldly remained in the open," according to his Medal of Honor citation, firing with devastating accuracy on the more numerous enemy forces. When the Viet Cong realized Barker was threatening their position, they began directing their fire straight at him, wounding his right hand.

Unable to continue operating his machine gun, Barker watched as a live grenade flew towards his surviving fellows. Without hesitation, he threw himself on the missile and absorbed the explosion's impact with his own body. Most stories would end there -- but Jedh Colby Barker, in a final act of bravery and courage, crawled to a wounded comrade's side to administer first aid before finally succumbing to his wounds.

Barker's story is told on the Medal of Honor page on the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines Web site. "The fate of nations often hangs in the balance during great battles, which in turn often hinge upon the actions of great men or even those of a single towering and heroic individual," the page is prefaced. "Medal of Honor recipients are the type of men who alone can turn a battle and bring a nation immeasurably closer to victory. The debt of gratitude due them is endless."

Barker brought a bold spirit and devotion to his duty, giving his life for his country and saving his comrades from further injury or possible death. For this, no thank-you is sufficient.

Related Topics

Military History Vietnam War Medal of Honor