Monday, June 07, 2010

Army 1st Sgt. Robert N. Barton

Remember Our Heroes

Army 1st Sgt. Robert N. Barton, 35, of Roxie, Miss.

1st Sgt. Barton was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Fort Campbell, Ky.; died June 7, 2010 in Konar, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

America marked a grim milestone last month. U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan reached the one thousand mark, and the numbers my go much higher with a summer surge.

Among the grieving family members back home, a West Virginia mother now mourns and remembers. First Sgt. Robert Barton spent two of his grade school years in the New Haven area. His mother still lives there.

Rebecca Coleman got the visit that military families dread Monday night, the same day her son First Sgt. Robert Barton was listed as killed in action. Rebecca has not seen until now, pictures of her son Bobby's casket. Joined by four fellow soldiers now returned to American soil, all after the five were riding in an Afghan convoy, in a humvee that was hit by a roadside bomb.

Rebecca Coleman told she didn't think any of these guys believed they will not come home.

Following in his father and stepfathers footsteps, First Sgt Robert Barton was a career soldier, spending more than half of his 35 years in the army infantry. He’s been to Bosnia, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia all of those places, several times, and his mother says he loved what he did.

His mother says along with his country and his God, Bobby deeply loved his new young family, he leaves behind a wife Rebecca, same name as mom, and stepson Jason.

"She was his second wife, they just married a year ago and were best friends, and her son Jason, he loved Bobby and Bobby loved him. You would not know he wasn't his dad."

First Sgt. Barton’s death is one of 20 American and coalition fatalities in Afghanistan just this week, putting it on track to be one of the deadliest in the nine year war. The pentagon says the deadly spike was expected with a summer troop surge now underway to root out long embedded Taliban forces.

Rebecca Coleman says her son told her that everyone should know he believed in his mission and his country's cause from the beginning, and until the very end. She says he said that folks back home didn't realize what they were doing was a good thing. People should know that the troops, the mission was with good purpose, that we made a difference.

Rebecca said her son planned after this tour of duty to soon retire and spend family time and teach at a local college. She says his full military honors funeral is all planned, pending release of her son's body.

First Sgt. Barton is also survived by a brother, Nathan. He's in the Army Special Forces, he's now in training at the JFK Special Warfare School at Ft. Bragg.

There are about 94 thousand U.S. troops in Afghanistan right now. That number should go over one hundred thousand by the end of the summer.

The bodies of Barton and four other American servicemen were returned to the military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Barton, 35, was born in 1974 and grew up in the Roxie, Miss., area.

His grandmother, Jo Beth Coleman, told the McComb Enterprise-Journal that Barton was a 1993 graduate of Franklin High School, where he played on the football team. He joined the military the following year. "He was a good student and a real likable person. Everybody loves him," Coleman said.

Barton was stationed in Fort Campbell, Ky., where he was in the infantry. He was deployed to Afghanistan on April 24. Coleman said Barton and his wife, Rebecca, had been married for one year and lived in Hopkinsville, Ky. "He was military through and through," she said.

Coleman said plans are for Barton to be buried in the military cemetery at Fort Campbell.

Army 1st Sgt. Robert N. Barton was killed in action on 6/7/10.

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