Looking Back: The Valor of Pvt. Franklin Delano Barton

Looking Back: The Valor of Pvt. Franklin Delano Barton

Private Franklin Delano Barton was born in Olney, Texas, on March 11, 1933.

Before his deployment on August 1, 1950, during what would be known as the Korean Conflict, a defensive perimeter (labeled by journalists as the “Pusan Perimeter”) was organized to stop the advance of the North Korean People’s Army.

On September 1, 1950, at 17, he boarded a plane to Japan and subsequently joined his unit in the 8th Army. The 8th Army was known as the Amphibious Army, having earned the title for the record amount of successful amphibious assaults they participated in during WWII. The 8th Army had also been instrumental in the reconstruction effort by US armed forces during the occupation of Japan.

On September 15, 1950, after Franklin’s arrival and assignment, the 8th Army became part of the US forces launched in a breakout action from the Pusan Perimeter and an amphibious assault at Inchon. At some point during these two engagements, Private Barton was killed in action, having served as a combat soldier at the age of 17 for 14 days.

The successful defense of the Pusan Perimeter by the US 8th Army would become a defining moment in the Korean War; it set the stage for the UN Offensive.

As a result of these attacks, the entire North Korean People’s Army collapsed and retreated, paving the way for the 8th Army and the Republic of Korea’s military forces to cross the 38th parallel and capture the capital, Pyongyang by October 1, 1950.

At that moment, for all practical purposes, the NKPA had been defeated. Without the invasion by the Republic of China, the war would have been over. Private Barton was one of 224 killed during the eng ag ement; 809 American soldiers also were wounded during the engagement. There is no way to measure how many of his brothers-inarms’ lives he saved, or the other lives and contributions this 17-year-old young man may have made in the 14 days he was an American combat soldier.

Duty, courage, honor, service, and, if necessary, sacrifice, have been and always shall be just a few of the defining qualities of those who serve in the United States Armed Forces. These men and women are the best and brightest of those representing the United States, at home, and worldwide.

May they rest in peace as we remember them, as we live in peace purchased at the expense of their lives. May God Bless them, and may God bless the United States of America.

Private Barton was the younger brother of Lena Barton Myers, and the uncle of Jim Myers, Ann Myers Cumpton, and Bill Myers. He is buried in the Restland Cemetery in Olney.