John Lawrence Barovetto

Army of the United States
21 January 1939 - 07 January 1968
Davis, CA
Panel 33E Line 063

The database page for John Lawrence Barovetto

19 Apr 2004

Regarding Capt. John Barovetto:

I first met Capt. John while stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii with the 3/4 Cav. (attached to the 25th Inf. Division). He was a 1st Lt. at the time in A-Troop. I was a Sp4 Radio Operator and APC-TC in Headquarters Troop.

At Schofield, I remember John as a friendly guy who did not strike you as an Officer but more as one of the guys. The guys in A-Troop really liked him. He and I were both from California and that common ground helped break the ice in our few conversations.

We all shipped out for Vietnam in Jan. 1966. First, a troop ship to Okinawa then an LST across the South China Sea and up the Saigon River to Saigon. We eventually helped establish the 25th Division at Cu Chi.

Soon after our arrival in country a ragtag group of enlisted men were scrounged from various Troops (companies) and assigned the task of building sandbag bunkers along the perimeter guarded by the Cav. I was volunteered for this detail.

The first Officer assigned to head up this bunch was a dismal leader. He was mostly interested in staying cool and clean and his inability to connect with the troops worked against him. We were working on ground that had previously been a peanut plantation. The Engineers had bladed it, completely striped it of all vegetation and turned it into a hot, dust bowl environment. The VC would periodically launch a few rounds our way from the nearest tree line. We all wished we were somewhere else. Our gentleman Officer would turn out in the morning, bark out a few commands, then retreat to some shady tent back at HQ. He'd return late in the afternoon to check on our progress. We were soon way behind schedule in construction of the bunkers and our inept leader was replaced. Enter Lt. John Barovetto.

Lt. John took command by announcing that a party would be held upon the completion of each bunker and he was buying the beer ... and it would be ice cold. Ice was a rare commodity during our early days at Cu Chi. Then Lt. John takes off his shirt and busts his ass along with the rest of us. He disappeared just before we finished that first bunker and returned with ice cold brew! Man, what a treat. We all kicked back in the cool of that bunker and shared a brew with our new boss. I clearly recall that Lt. John never gave us direct orders but pitched in and acted more like a coach. We were soon completing a bunker or more each day and, true to John's word, we enjoyed cold beer each afternoon. Pretty soon the beer didn't matter much. We humped just to please Lt. John. He was the most effective, natural leader I encountered during my tour and we all liked him for the man he was and the example he set.

Shortly after completing the last bunker every man on that detail received a Letter of Commendation for exceptional performance under fire.

Lt. John was a natural leader and bonded all of us into an effective and willing team. He had our admiration and total dedication. I do believe, deep in his heart, he was just a grunt like the rest of us. I also believe that he was one of the few who enjoyed being in Vietnam. In Sept. 1966 I rotated out of the Cav. and lost track of him.

Years later I was deeply saddened to learn that Capt. John's name was on The Wall. I think of him often. I know nothing about his final day on this earth but I can imagine him out on point just for the hell of it and taking rounds meant for a greenhorn grunt.

I pray his family has healed from their loss. I also pray I can one day feel the same. Capt. John was a terrific Officer and one heck of a fine man.

Sp4 Rich Fleming
HHT, 3/4 Cav.
Cu Chi, South Vietnam
(Memories from 37 years ago)

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 07 Jan 1968 A and C Companies, 2nd Bn, 12th Cavalry, were ambushed in the Que Son Valley by the 3rd NVA Regiment. Captain Barovetto was leading a relief column to assist the two 12th Cav companies. Although Captain Barovetto is the only known casualty from Bravo 1/1 Cav, the two 2/12 Cav companies lost 17 men killed in action.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one of his troops,
Richard A. Fleming 
19 Apr 2004

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 04/19/2004