Barkley, David Bennes, Pvt

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Private
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
590-Duty Soldier III
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1917-1918, 521, 356th Infantry Regiment
Service Years
1917 - 1918

Private



One Overseas Service Bar


 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Texas
Texas
Year of Birth
1899
 
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Loredo, Texas
Last Address
San Antonio, Texas

Casualty Date
Nov 08, 1918
 
Cause
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Reason
Drowned, Suffocated
Location
France
Conflict
Not Specified
Location of Interment
San Antonio National Cemetery - San Antonio, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section G, Site 1302

 Official Badges 

Wound Chevron (1917-1932)


 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
Medal of HonorCongressional Medal Of Honor Society
  1918, Medal of Honor [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  1918, Congressional Medal Of Honor Society

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 Ribbon Bar


 
 Unit Assignments
356th Infantry Regiment
  1917-1918, 521, 356th Infantry Regiment
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1918-1918 World War I/St. Mihiel Campaign
  1918-1918 World War I/Meuse-Argonne Campaign
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

David Bennes Barkley (March 31, 1899 - November 9, 1918), often spelled Barkeley, was a United States Army private who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during World War I in France. After successfully completing a scouting mission behind enemy lines, he drowned as he swam back across the Meuse River.

Biography
Barkley was born in Laredo, Texas to Josef and Antonia (Cantú) Barkley, and grew up with his Mexican-American mother. He enlisted in the Army when the United States entered what was then known as the Great War. He used his Anglo father's name to avoid being segregated into a non-combat unit.

As a part of Company A, 356th Infantry, 89th Division in France, he and Sergeant M. Waldo Hatler swam across the Meuse River near Pouilly-sur-Meuse to get behind German lines and gather information about troop strength and deployments. They were able to gather the needed information; however, returning across the river, Barkley was "seized with cramps and drowned". (This is the exact wording from his citation, duplicated below.) Sgt. Hatler survived to bring the information back to their unit.

Barkley was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. He was one of three Texans to be awarded the Medal of Honor for action during World War I. Additionally, France awarded him the Croix de Guerre, and Italy the Croce al Merito di Guerra.

Private Barkley lay in state at the Alamo, the second person to ever receive this honor. He was then buried at the San Antonio National Cemetery.

Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company A, 356th Infantry, 89th Division. Place and date: Near Pouilly, France, November 9, 1918. Entered service at: San Antonio, Tex. Birth: Laredo, Tex. G.O. No.: 20, W.D., 1919.

Citation
When information was desired as to the enemy's position on the opposite side of the Meuse River, Pvt. Barkeley, with another soldier, volunteered without hesitation and swam the river to reconnoiter the exact location. He succeeded in reaching the opposite bank, despite the evident determination of the enemy to prevent a crossing. Having obtained his information, he again entered the water for his return, but before his goal was reached, he was seized with cramps and drowned.

In memory:
Barkley has received three notable posthumous recognitions. In 1921, an elementary school in San Antonio, Texas was named in his honor. On January 10, 1941, the U.S. Army installation, Camp Barkeley, was named in his honor. A clerical error resulted in the discrepancy in spelling. Finally, in 1989 when his Hispanic background was discovered, Barkley was recognized as the U.S. Army's first Hispanic Medal of Honor recipient.

David B. Barkley Plaza
A memorial honoring the 41 Hispanic soldiers who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor was built in Laredo, Texas in 2002 and the plaza was named after David B. Barkley. The David B. Barkley Plaza has a bronze statue of David B. Barkley and an American flag measuring 100 ft by 50 ft and is 308 ft tall making if one of the tallest flagpoles in the United States.

   
Comments/Citation
Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_B._Barkeley
 
http://www.militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=600
   
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