The Norman Transcript

Opinion

October 18, 2013

Guard member served in Korea

NORMAN — Bobby “Pete” Barnard was born in 1930 in Norman. He attended Wilson Elementary School (and confirmed that Roy Hamilton wrote the Wilson Wildcats Fight Song). While at Norman High School, he played football and baseball; he was All-State in baseball.

Bobby enrolled in OU in 1948 and played freshman baseball. He laid out a semester, then came back to OU in general studies during the second semester of 1950. He met his future wife, Francine, during his semester out of OU.

In June 1950, he joined the National Guard’s 45th Infantry Division and eventually was assigned to the 120th Medical Battalion. He was mobilized on Aug. 10, 1950, and sent to Camp Polk, La., for basic training.

He said on his first day at basic training, he was given guard duty; on the second day, he was assigned latrine duty; and on his third day, he was on KP duty.

While he was doing his KP chores the cook asked him if would like to become a cook. Bobby said, “I can’t boil water, but if becoming a cook will get me out of all these details, I’ll become a cook.” So, he became a cook in the National Guard.

Bobby came home from Camp Polk during Christmas on a five-day pass to marry Francine. After their wedding, Francine went back with Bobby to Camp Polk to pathetic living conditions.

In their first apartment, they only had one room, and it didn’t have a door; they had to hang a blanket over the doorway for privacy, and they shared a bathroom. But as Francine noted, they were in love and they hardly noticed the inconveniences.

After about six months in Hokkaido, Japan, in 1951, Bobby’s unit shipped out to Korea, eventually arriving at the combat zone. He had to cook Christmas dinner while they were on the move, and he had to prepare it outdoors — there was no tent for the kitchen.

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