Jack Lamar BarkerMajor
B CO, 101ST AVN BN, 101 ABN DIV
Army of the United States
22 March 1939 - 20 March 1971
Panel 04W Line 059
The database page for Jack Lamar Barker
"To live in the hearts we leave behind,
A memorial initiated by his nephew,
I was 5 years old when I met the newlywed couple Jack and Dee Barker in our quarters at Old Argonner base in Germany. My father was with the Engineer Battalion at the time, later with the special forces as a HALO jumper. One of the few memories I have of Jack was of he and Dee dancing together in their small U.S. Army quarters while babysitting me and my brother one night. Steve and I (4 and 5 at the time) had a great time rubbing our feet on the carpet and touching the lamp in the ungrounded apartment to shocking satisfaction while Jack and Dee danced the night away.
Dee and Jack had a son Brian, who was killed in a car accident long after Jack's death in Laos. My youngest brother was named after Brian.
I've wondered all these years, after our return from Germany and learning of Jack's death, what really happened to him. There is a recent book by a member of a team out of CIHLO that attempted to recover Jack's remains and those of his crew. I highly recommend it. The author is Earl Swift. The title is "Where They Lay", with different subtitles depending on whether you see the hardbound cover or the paperback.
Please remember Jack and his family in your thoughts. And if you wish to learn more about a great person, read the book. I can't do it justice here.
Regards from a friend,
Jack Lamar Barker was a man who wasn't caring about himself but for the other soldiers fighting with him and though many of the soldiers were lost Jack was determined to try and save as many soldiers as he could. I didn't really know Jack but from what I have heaed he was a great man and I would have loved to meet him. Now to see him coming home to were he belongs after 35 years is so wounderful.
From his great-nephew,
I only learned of Major Jack Barker after I married his kind, easy-going, and very loving niece Jeanne, nearly 23 years ago. Shortly after we were married C. W. Barker, Jack's brother, and my father-in-law asked me to read the report of his shootdown, and asked my opinion, as a '72 Vietnam vet, as to the possibility of his survival. I advised him at that time, I would not hold much hope for a survival of the crew of that aircraft. At that time, 1983, I had no personal knowledge of any efforts to recover our war dead from Vietnam/Laos, and only learned of it after reading Earl Swift's book "Where They Lay". To say I became totally consumed with trying to get all the info as to the location of the crash site, and anything I could about Jack Barker as a man, would probably be an understatement. I wanted to help bring closure to a grieving family I care deeply for.
Thru this book, and postings on the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association website I have had the honor to converse (sometimes at great length) with the men who flew with the major. One in particular was of such great help, I felt if those searching could never find the major, and his crew, I knew the man who knew exactly where they lay. I am pleased to say that we both have discovered that we are more alike in many ways than we could have ever imagined. I also learned volumes about Lam Son 719, and learned to admire and respect the courage of the pilots and crews who flew this operation. There is not enough space here to adequately describe these brave warriors who willingly flew those thin-skinned birds into heavy enemy fire, seemingly without fear, knowing that each flight could be their last, and for far too many, unfortunately it was.
I am deeply endebted to those who shared info I requested, their personal thoughts, and even their souls, as I have shared mine. At the funeral service, Lam Son 719 vets proved once again they are truly "a band of brothers", as many traveled great distances to attend. In war, no matter how bad things were, if you needed them, they would come. They are still doing it. What an amazing band of brothers! I am so grateful they were willing to share so much with me in an effort to help, and educate the Barker family as to what the mission was like, and the type men it took to fly those missions every day. Major Barker's remains, and those of his brave crew, are resting at peace now, in a place of great honor, surrounded by their equals, never to be forgotten.
May God hold these brave warriors, and all the Lam Son 719 vets closer than most. Rest in peace, my brothers.
Notes from The Virtual WallBeginning in January 1971, the South Vietnamese Army initiated a drive to cut NVA communications lines in Laos. The intent was to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail, seize Tchepone (Laos) and return to Vietnam. The ARVN would provide and command the ground forces, while the US Army and Air Force would furnish aviation resources and supporting firepower.
In early February the ARVN began its push into Laos. The NVA reacted fiercely, but the ARVN held its positions supported by U.S. airstrikes and resupply runs by Army helicopters.
A helicopter assault on Tchepone was successful, with the abandoned village seized on March 6. Two weeks of hard combat were necessary for the ARVN task force to fight its way back to Vietnam. Towards the end of the removal, a helicopter from Company B, 101st Aviation Battalion was lost.
Major Jack L. Barker, in UH-1H tail number 66-16185, was attempting to land to extract ARVN troops about 20 miles west of Khe Sanh. During the attempt, the aircraft came under enemy fire and was seen to spin, explode, and catch fire, then to break up in the air. No signs of survivors were seen. Because of the presence of enemy forces in the area, no subsequent search could be made for survivors.
Four men of B Company, 101st Aviation Battalion, died in the crash:
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 12 Oct 2001
Last updated 07/18/2006