November 11, 2007: the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Reprinted by request on June 26, 2013: Veterans Day:
“The Wall” at 25
November 11, 2007 by
Kevin Dayhoff (998 words)
Labels: Annual Veterans Day, Carroll Co States Attorney, Dayhoff Media The Tentacle, Dayhoff writing essays military, Military veterans, Military Vietnam, People Barnes CC State's Attorney Jerry
- The Wall at 25,” is the subject of a stunning original Smithsonian Channel
Documentary. The program will be simultaneously
web-streamed on the Smithsonian Channel Website - www.smithsonianchannel.com
with its on-air broadcast to DirecTV subscribers on Channel 267 this evening at
8 p.m. and 11 p.m.
My colleague at The Westminster Eagle, Heidi Schroeder and I were provided an advance copy of the documentary. We had been contacted for research information by Lynn Kessler-Hiltajczuk last summer.
Ms. Kessler-Hiltajczuk is a writer-producer for Alexandria-based LK Productions and served as an independent producer for the program. She was looking for additional information on Lance Cpl. Muriel Stanley Groomes, a Carroll Countian who was killed in
on Nov. 2, 1968.
Ms. Schroeder writes that in “addition to a history of The Wall's construction and interviews with veterans, the documentary provides a sneak peek into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection, which features over 100,000 items that have been left at The Wall.”
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund founder and president Jan Scruggs calls the program "the best documentary film about the wall I've ever seen." After reviewing it several times, I could not agree more.
In the many years since the dedication of The Wall, the memorial has evolved into a national shrine for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in
– an often misunderstood and inaccurately reported conflict.
It has also become a tribute to the American veterans who served our country in that long-ago war thousands of miles away from the comfort of our living room.
Veterans such as the current
Attorney, Jerry F. Barnes, (and former
assistant State’s Attorney) who choose to forego what would have been an easily
available draft deferment in May 1968 and joined the Army. Frederick County
It was in that month, that the 1966
graduate received his draft notice. According
to a biographical sketch written by former Maryland State Delegate Carmen
Amedori, Mr. Barnes joined a number of draftees from Carroll County “on a
school bus at the (Westminster) Post Office downtown,” and headed to Fort Holabird
in Baltimore – and then promptly to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Westminster High School
There Mr. Barnes opted to eschew being drafted for two years and enlisted for three years. At first he wanted to be a helicopter pilot, but after a series of events, he signed up for Special Forces - the Green Berets.
experience was one of a number of sketches by Ms. Amedori which appears in a
new publication from the Historical Society of Carroll County, “Tours of Duty –
and the Vietnam War,” by Gary D.
Jestes and Jay A. Graybeal. Carroll County
In a recent phone interview Mr. Barnes talked about his service in
from September 16, 1969 to September 16, 1970.
Mr. Barnes began his Special Forces – Green Beret training in January
Soon after arriving at Cam Ranh Bay he assigned to the first of three “A-Camps” in
which is located in the Central Tay Nguyen Highlands. The “A-Camp” counterinsurgency concept is
still being used to this day in Kon
Tum Province Afghanistan
In Kon Tum province he served at A-241 Polei Kleng; A-244 Ben Het; A-245 Dak Seang – about 20 miles from the Laotian border as one of approximately 10 American “advisors” serving with several hundred Montagnard tribesmen in the “Civilian Irregular Defense Group” counterinsurgency program.
Sgt. Barnes served with the 5th Special Forces Group and a “typical” assignment
was to go out on 8 to 10-day operations as (more often than not) the lone
American with a contingent of South Vietnamese Special Forces counterparts – or
Montagnards, to monitor and patrol the Ho Chi Minh trail. “Our objective was to interdict and disrupt
the supply activities of the trail.”
“It was while out on one of these patrols that Barnes’ heroic actions earned him the first of two Bronze Stars for valor,” according to Ms. Amedori.
Mr. Barnes explained that he was with 20 Montagnards 18 miles from the Laotian border “manning a radio relay station for a larger operation farther out when we were attacked as dusk by a (contingent) of the North Vietnamese regular Army.”
The ensuing firefight lasted throughout the night. “We took some casualties and before it was all over, it took calling in an artillery attack, then Cobra helicopter gunships followed by suppression fire from C-130’s, known as “Puff the Magic Dragons,” and finally two fighter jets to save them.
Before returning home he was awarded a second Bronze Star and the Combat Infantry Badge among a number of recognitions. He turned down a number of Army re-enlistment offers and served the remainder of his enlistment stateside with the 10th Special Forces with the famed 10th Mountain Division in
After his honorable discharge in June 1971, he utilized the GI Bill and graduated first from the
and went on
to graduate from the University of Baltimore Law School in June 1977. University
“I actually started as an intern with the
’s Attorney’s Office
in 1976,” said Mr. Barnes. With the
exception of four years with the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s office he
has been with Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office ever since. He served as an Carroll County
State’s Attorney until he was first
elected to the office of 's
Attorney in November 1994. Carroll
Mr. Barnes has “tried as best I can to attend all the Veterans Day ceremonies... It is important to remember individuals who have dedicated their lives for the establishment and preservation of our freedoms.”
It is important that this Veterans Day, we remember the service of Sgt. Barnes and countless other veterans. God bless them all for their dedication and commitment.
E-mail him at: kevindayhoff at gmail.com
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