Richard L. Barney, born July 12, 1932, enlisted in the Army on Aug. 25, 1949 and took his basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and was sent from there to Fort Lewis, Washington Unit at Fort Lewis Medical Company 9th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Division.
The division went west from the Pusan Perimeter up to the Naktone River. When the Inchon Landing was made, they went north to Pyongyang, North Korea up to the Yalu River.
The Chinese hit them and they retreated south and were captured on Dec. 1, 1950. The mistreatment of the prisoners of war varied.
Dick was one of a number of victims who suffered different surgeries, of course without anesthetic — such as laying the POW on a long, narrow table and then cutting their backs open and placing a raw pig liver just under the skin and then sewing them up. These surgeries were done to see if it would help the victims who were suffering from dysentery. Unfortunately, they did it to Dick a second time but inserted a chicken liver.
All of the marching took place in the dead of winter with very heavy snows.
The clothing they had was not suitable for the cold and ice. Many of the POWs just sadly died by the road sides from the freezing conditions.
Dick was finally released on Aug. 25, 1953 and returned to his home in Marion, Indiana where he met and married his wife of 65 years, Sara. Doctors in Marion offered to remove the scars left by the communists, but he declined. He has the UN Medal, Korean Service Medal and Combat Medical Badge.
He is a member of the American Ex-POW’s Association of the Korean War, Inc., the American Legion, Amvets and a life member of the VFW. He retired from GM in Marion, Indiana on Dec. 26, 1986.
He and his wife have a daughter, Kathy Stover; son, Michael; two granddaughters, two grandsons and three great grandchildren, Jaydin, Mary and Teagan.
Dick admits to getting sentimental when he hears our national anthem or any other patriotic music.
His wife will be the first to tell you how important God, family and our country are to him.