Military.com: Pilot Killed in Navy Jet Fighter Crash in California Desert; A Doghouse Like No Other: Military Pooches May Soon Get Chemical Weapons Shelters; Florida Mom Channels Grief into Fight Against Vet Suicides and more ->
“Then there was Charlie Barger…”
Barger was born to George and Cora (Lake) Staffelbach. In 1897, his father, a member of the notorious Staffelbach gang from Galena, Kansas, was sentenced to life in prison and his mother gave him up for adoption. On April 1, 1918, Barger enlisted in the United States Army. On October 31, 1918, near Bois-de-Bantheville, Barger’s regiment sent several patrols into no man’s land to reconnoiter positions in preparation for an advance as part of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.
Two patrols from Barger’s regiment became pinned down by heavy rifle and machine gun fire. Second Lieutenant John M. Millis, of Company L, was seriously wounded in the legs and ordered his men to leave without him. One man managed to crawl to the safety of the Allied lines and brought news that Millis and another wounded officer were trapped in no man’s land.
Upon hearing this, Barger and Private First Class Jesse N. Funk, voluntarily ran 500 yards (460 m) through heavy machine gun fire with a stretcher to rescue Millis, but he insisted that First Lieutenant Ernest G. Rowell, of Company I, be rescued first. When they returned to no man’s land to rescue Millis, they discovered a wounded enlisted man about fifty yards from a machine gun nest, so they returned a third time to rescue him. For these actions, General Pershing presented Barger and Funk the Medal of Honor in February 1919.
Barger was awarded the Purple Heart ten times for wounds he sustained.
In January 1922, Barger was hired as a police officer in Kansas City. On February 22, he and Officer Howard Pollard were dispatched to 1724 Holly Street where two men were involved in bootlegging and one was suspected of murder. The suspects holed up on the second floor of the residence and decided to shoot it out with the officers. Pollard was hit in the arm and went down, and Barger was shot in the left wrist, right arm, chest and head—a total of five times.
Barger recovered from his injuries, but his head wound coupled with the effects of mustard gas and post-traumatic stress eventually took its toll on his physical and mental health. He remained with the police force for twelve years before they let him go with no compensation or pension.
“It’s fine to have all the medals,” he lamented, “but the trouble is you can’t eat them.”
On the night of November 23, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office were called to his home where they found him wielding a large hunting knife and setting fire to his farmhouse. He had three self-inflicted wounds to his throat, and the deputies reported that “his clothing was torn and his body burned in a dozen places.” When the officers attempted to arrest him for threatening to kill his wife, he lunged at them with the knife. Deputy Frank Ridenour fired in self-defense, inflicting a non-life-threatening wound to Barger’s right thigh. He was taken to the Kansas City General Hospital and died two days later from third-degree burns to his face and arms.
“That the breakdown was due to his war experience no comrade of Charles Barger would deny,” a reporter friend wrote after his death. “Yet through the years every effort made by the veterans’ organizations to persuade the government that sent him to war to admit responsibility for his mental condition ended in failure. There was no ‘proof’ in cold language that his suffering was connected with his service. Charles Barger remained a name and a case number.”
Bill Fikes Jr
Charles D. Barger – Wikipedia
Periscope Film WWII CAPTURE OF GERMAN U-BOAT U-505 RAW COLOR FOOTAGE JUNE 4, 1944 XD31281
The Concentration Camp That Fought Back | World War Weird | War Stories
The Most Important Weather Forecast In History | D-Day Documentary | War Stories
197 – Banzai Charges in Alaska – WW2 – June 4, 1943
The History Guy: Battleship USS Tennessee and World War 2
Combat Story CS 77: Navy SEAL to Astronaut | CEO Medal of Honor Museum Foundation | Space Walker | Chris Cassidy
Jack CarrUSA: Eli Kfoury: Veteran, Combat Medic, Entrepreneur