In the aftermath of the tragic events of 9-11, with the nation still grieving over thousands of lives senselessly lost, a lone warrior silently passed away. Colonel William Barber died on 19 April 2002. Known for his gallantry at the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War, Barber was a real American hero. Instead of leaving a hill for safety, then-Captain Barber, in defiance of orders, suffering from a bullet wound near his groin, chose to stay and fight, commanding his company from a stretcher, enabling the withdrawal of 8,000 nearby Marines.
The term "hero" now seems inadequate in describing Barber. Barber stood out during the ensuing days when the Marines, outnumbered five-to-one, overcame overwhelming odds with courage and gallantry a common occurrence. Even so, not all of the Marines who fought at the Chosin Reservoir were deemed "heroes." While all fought bravely, Barber did something different. He changed the outcome of the battle, with action above and beyond the call of duty, at his own personal risk.