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First Name: Harvey

Last Name: Barnum

Birthplace: Cheshire, CT, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Curtiss

Date of Birth: 21 July 1940

Rank: Colonel

Years Served: 1962-1989
Harvey Curtiss Barnum, Sr.

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Harvey Curtiss Barnum, Sr.
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Colonel Harvey Curtiss Barnum, Jr. is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer who received the Medal of Honor for valor during the Vietnam War. He was the fourth Marine to receive the Medal of Honor in Vietnam.

Harvey Curtiss Barnum was born 21 July 1940 in Cheshire, CT. 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 Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, NH.

At Saint Anselm College, Barnum 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. In June 1962, he graduated from Saint Anselm College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Upon graduation, he was commissioned a Marine Reserve Second Lieutenant.

Second Lieutenant Barnum was ordered to Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, VA, 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, 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa, Japan. 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.

In April 1964, Barnum was transferred to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and 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 U.S. from Spain, he was assigned as Officer in Charge, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Classified Files.

Detached in March 1965, he then served as Guard Officer, Marine Barracks, U.S. Naval Base, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, HI. From December 1965 until February 1966, 1stLt Barnum served on temporary duty in Vietnam as an artillery forward observer with Company H, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division.

First Lieutenant Barnum was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions at Ky Phu in Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 18 December 1965.

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States in the name of the Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Forward Observer for Artillery, while attached to Company H, Second Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against communist forces at Ky Phu in Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 18 December 1965. When the company was suddenly pinned down by a hail of extremely accurate enemy fire and was quickly separated from the remainder of the battalion by over five hundred meters of open and fire-swept ground, and casualties mounted rapidly, Lieutenant Barnum quickly made a hazardous reconnaissance of the area seeking targets for his artillery. Finding the rifle company commander mortally wounded and the radio operator killed, he, with complete disregard for his own safety, gave aid to the dying commander, then removed the radio from the dead operator and strapped it to himself. He immediately assumed command of the rifle company, and moving at once into the midst of the heavy fire, rallying and giving encouragement to all units, reorganized them to replace the loss of key personnel and led their attack on enemy positions from which deadly fire continued to come. His sound and swift decisions and his obvious calm served to stabilize the badly decimated units and his gallant example as he stood exposed repeatedly to point out targets served as an inspiration to all. Provided with two armed helicopters, he moved fearlessly through enemy fire to control the air attack against the firmly entrenched enemy while skillfully directing one platoon in a successful counterattack in the key enemy positions. Having thus cleared a small area, he requested and directed the landing of two transport helicopters for the evacuation of the dead and wounded. He then assisted in the mopping up and final seizure of the battalion's objective. His gallant initiative and heroic conduct reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and United States Naval Service.


Barnum was promoted to Captain in June 1966, after he returned to Hawaii. From March until August 1967, he attended the Associate Field Artillery Officers Career Course, Fort Still, OK. Transferred to Headquarters Marine Corps, he served as Aide-de-Camp for LtGen Lewis 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, 2nd Battalion, 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division With the 3rd Marine Division redeployment from Vietnam to Okinawa in September 1969, he remained with that unit until the following October.

Upon his return from Okinawa, 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, 2nd 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. In 1987, he was assigned as Military Secretary to the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

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

Upon retirement, Colonel Barnum served as the Principal Director, Drug Enforcement Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense. He also served as past president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Barnum is currently serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Reserve Affairs, a position he has held since 23 July 2001.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal (2 awards)
Purple Heart
Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal w/ Valor Device
Combat Action Ribbon
Navy Presidential Unit Citation
Navy Unit Commendation
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 5 Service Stars
Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ Palm & Silver Star
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Honoree ID: 891   Created by: MHOH




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