Silver Star Ceremony
Metter's VFW Post Commander Lt. Col. Mark Cauley and Candler County Probate Judge Tony Thompson solemnly announce that on Monday October 25 at 2:00 at the front lawn of the Candler County Courthouse, Specialist Oscar Barker Jr. of 2nd Platoon, A Co., 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment will be posthumously presented with the Silver Star for gallantry under fire.
The Silver Star is the third highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States Armed Forces for valor in the face of the enemy.
Judge Thompson explains the story of Specialist Barker's long-delayed recognition.
"Over four decades ago, the 1st Cavalry Division (including the 7th Cavalry Regiment) deployed from Fort Benning, Georgia for Vietnam. On 14 - 16 November 1965 in the Ia Drang valley they fought the first major battle between the American Army and the People's Army of Vietnam. The
battle was immortalized in the book "We were Soldiers Once and Young", by Lt Gen Hal Moore, the commander of US forces in the engagement, and Joe Galloway, a journalist present during the fighting. The book was later made into the movie "We Were Soldiers" starring Mel Gibson."
"On November 6th, 2009 I received a letter from Congressman Stephen Lynch of the 9th Congressional District of Massachusetts. He wrote, 'Dear Judge Thompson, I am searching for the family of Specialist Oscar Barker Jr. (Oct. 30-1938-Nov. 17, 1965). A resident of Metter, Candler County, Georgia, Specialist Barker was married before serving in the Vietnam Conflict. While serving in Vietnam he was killed by enemy fire while protecting his fellow soldiers. Recently, Specialist Barker has been awarded the Silver Star. I am in the process of trying to locate Specialist Barker's family. I would appreciate the release of all records related to the case and any other information that may be pertinent."