ST FRANCISVILLE, La. --
With the passing of one of the U.S. Marine Corps’ finest leaders, more than 200 servicemembers converged on his hometown, Nov. 3.
Gen. Robert H. Barrow, 27th Commandant of the Marine Corps, was honored by a battalion of Marines from Marine Barracks Washington, led by Gen. James T. Conway, 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps and Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, 16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.
With a somber cadence from the U.S. Marine Band, the Marines made their way to his final resting place in a shady corner of the town’s local cemetery. Following a private service for his family, Barrow was laid to rest by the U.S. Marine Corps Body Bearers. After a prayer, a ceremonial bugler from the band played “TAPS” as a final tribute and farewell to one of the corps’ finest Marines.
Barrow was a decorated combat veteran who served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.
Serving first as an enlisted Marine drill instructor, he was responsible for the training of Marine recruits in the early stages of WWII. After his graduation from Officer Candidate School in 1943, he fought with Chinese guerillas on mainland China where he received a Bronze Star with Combat “V” for valor in combat.
During the Korean War, Barrow was involved in the defense of Seoul, for which he received the Silver Star, as well as the Marines’ landing at Inchon where they forced the North Koreans into retreat. He was awarded the Navy Cross, the naval services’ second highest honor, for his actions at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.
While in combat operations during the Vietnam War, he received the Army Distinguished Service Cross for valor during Operation Dewey Canyon, a 56-day fight with a large North Vietnamese force in 1969.
Upon promotion to brigadier general later that year, Barrow began to climb through the ranks until he was named CMC on July 1, 1979. As commandant, he began to implement reforms, which continue to affect the Marine Corps to present day. His changes included raising standards for future Marines, breaking racial tensions in the service and ending tolerance for drug abusers.
The Marines’ tribute to General Barrow in his hometown is a fitting finale for a man whose leadership and reforms will continue to affect the Marine Corps for as long as it continues to exist.