The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Robert L. Barnett (2259704), Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Machine Gun Squad Leader with Company A, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 9 May 1969, during a battalion-sized reconnaissance in force in Quang Nam Province, Corporal Barnett was moving with the point position across rice paddies bordered by tree lines when the Marines came under intense small-arms fire and were pinned down by a large North Vietnamese Army force. During the initial burst of enemy fire, four men in the lead platoon were wounded, including Corporal Barnett. Observing the wounded Corpsman and another Marine lying in a dangerously exposed position, Corporal Barnett completely disregarded his own safety as he rushed across the fire-swept terrain to reach his fallen comrades and administer first aid. Locating another casualty, he ignored his own painful injuries as he braved the enemy fire to run 100 meters across the open terrain to reach the wounded Marine. Although injured a second time, he managed to assist in moving the casualty to a covered position. He refused evacuation for himself and boldly delivered effective fire which killed four North Vietnamese soldiers and suppressed the hostile fire sufficiently to enable the aircraft to land. Although wounded again by enemy fire, he remained oblivious to the intense pain and valiantly continued to deliver a heavy volume of accurate and effective covering fire while the casualties were embarked and the helicopter lifted out of the hazardous area. Despite his weakened condition, he continued to aggressively engage the enemy until wounded a fourth time and medically evacuated. His heroic actions inspired all who observed him and contributed materially to the defeat of the enemy. By his courage, bold initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger, Corporal Barnett upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Home Town : Minneapolis , Minnesota