b. 24/11/1919 Fulton, New York. d. 03/05/1986 Yountville, California.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 06/06/1944 St Laurent-sur-Mer, France.
Carlton W. Barrett was born on November 24, 1919, in Fulton, New York. He grew up there and attended Fulton schools. Barrett left High School without graduating. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1940, about one month before his 21st birthday. Barrett became part of 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Divsion, and was part of Operation Overlord, the operation to land on the Normandy beaches on the morning of 6 June 1944. When Barrett was asked about his actions on that day, he would never retell his story. He would humbly state: “It was after that that I knew what a hero really is. They are all heroes just for being there — especially those that never came back … Memorial Day and D-Day are good days to remember them.”
Barrett was one of four Medal of Honor recipients on June 6, 1944, and the only one who lived to tell his story. While recovering from his wounds, Barrett suffered two bouts of malaria and was not discharged from the hospital for five months, until October 1944. On 17 November 1944, he received his Medal of Honor in Paris, France, from General J.C.H. Lee. Barrett remained in the U.S. Army for another 19 years, retiring as a staff sergeant in 1963.
Sgt. Barrett retired to California to spend time with his wife and two daughters. He died May 3, 1986, at age 66.
On the morning of D-Day, Pvt. Barrett, landing in the face of extremely heavy enemy fire, was forced to wade ashore through neck-deep water. Disregarding the personal danger, he returned to the surf again and again to assist his floundering comrades and save them from drowning. Refusing to remain pinned down by the intense barrage of small-arms and mortar fire poured at the landing points, Pvt. Barrett, working with fierce determination, saved many lives by carrying casualties to an evacuation boat lying offshore. In addition to his assigned mission as guide, he carried dispatches the length of the fire-swept beach; he assisted the wounded; he calmed the shocked; he arose as a leader in the stress of the occasion. His coolness and his dauntless daring courage while constantly risking his life during a period of many hours had an inestimable effect on his comrades and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.
BURIAL LOCATION: CHAPEL OF THE CHIMES CEMETERY, NAPA, CALIFORNIA.
GARDEN OF PEACE, LOT 4, GRAVE E.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION MUSEUM, CANTIGNY, WHEATON, ILLINOIS.