May 28, 2007

Delano's Josh Barten wins Bronze Star for service

By Cullen Schultz
Staff Writer

With times being the way they are, and freedom coming at a price, we rely on our military to keep us safe, and to prevent another Sept. 11, 2001 from happening.

Our freedom would not be as secure as it is today, without the soldiers who go to foreign countries to protect us at home, soldiers like Joshua Barton.

Captain Josh Barten, from Delano, served in the First Battalion, Sixth Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade, First Armored Division. During his tour, Barten won a Bronze Star for his service.

“I did not get the Bronze Star for any particular action, but for my service throughout our time there,” Barten said.

Barten was sent to the Middle East in 2005, where his unit was deployed to Kuwait. In May 2006, his unit was redeployed to Ar Ramadi, Iraq to relieve a National Guard unit whose tour was up.

“Our areas of operations were around Ramadi,” Barten said.

During his time in Iraq, Barten participated in numerous combat logistic patrols, cordon, and searches and raids to find and locate the enemy.

“I have served with many, many great soldiers and cherish their friendship, and I am proud of the things that my unit accomplished in Iraq,” Barten said.

The Bronze Star Barten won during his time in Iraq is an honor bestowed upon soldiers who distinguish themselves by heroic service, or meritorious achievement, not involving aerial flight, during a military engagement against enemy forces.

The award came into fruition in 1944, when General George C. Marshall recommended the award to President Roosevelt to honor the courage and hardships the infantry were suffering during World War II.

Since Barten’s tour in the Middle East, he has been stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., with his wife, Jacquelyn, and is preparing for their first child to be born in August.

At Fort Benning, Barten is now in command of B Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, training new recruits.

“My unit trains basic trainees in their first 14 weeks in the Army,” Barten said.

Barten grew up with small town roots, being born in Waseca, and moving to Delano when he was still a child.

“I lived in Delano since I was in fourth grade and consider it my hometown,” Barten said.

He graduated from Delano High School in 1999, where he was active in numerous school activities including baseball, cross country, National Honor Society, math team, student council, site-based management team, wrestling, and as a yearbook editor.

It was during his time in high school that he became interested in joining the military.

“I had always been interested in military history growing up, but never seriously considered joining the military until my junior year of high school,” Barten said.

He received numerous brochures in the mail from various service academies. Barten realized it would be something very challenging to do with his life, that would offer him great rewards such as a free education to a respected academic program, as well as serving his country.

“I liked what I saw,” Barten said.

Barten looked into the different military academies, and finally decided he wanted to attend prestigious West Point, located in New York.

“After I learned a little about the different academies, I decided that West Point was the best fit for me,” Barten said.

Upon deciding on West Point, Barten started the long process of applying for admission. The process started with Barten sending a short application to the admission office, telling them he was interested in applying.

“I got a rather lengthy application in return, and began filling it out,” Barten said.

He took the ACT and SAT tests, and proceeded to get recommendations from his coaches and teachers.

“I also had to take a physical fitness test, and receive a congressionnal nomination,” Barten said.

To get a congressional nomination, Barten had to do another application and send it to either his congressman or senator, who accepted his application and nominated him to be accepted to West Point.

“I interviewed with the special panel that makes the recommendations on who should be nominated,” Barten said.

Barten was accepted and enrolled in West Point after graduating Delano High School in 1999. He attended West Point for four years, building friendships, as well as getting a first class education.

“My experience at West Point was great,” Barten said. “It is a very hard school, and takes some serious commitment, but the opportunities are amazing.”

Barten graduated from West Point May 31, 2003, and was in the top 10 percent of his class. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant of infantry.

“I think that my fondest moment was graduation from West Point, with my family there to see me,” Barten said. His parents, Barb and John, brother Nathan, and other relatives all attended the event.

Upon graduation, Barten was sent to Fort Benning for additional training, and then, in May 2004, he was sent to Smith Barracks in Baumholder, Germany.

“Jackie and I loved living in Germany, and are glad that we had the opportunity to see so much while we where there, but nothing beats being home,” he said.

As for Barten’s future in the Army, it is uncertain, as his obligation runs out in about a year. Service in the Army takes a serious time commitment, and Barten is weighing his options.

“I will talk things over with my wife, and we will decide what is best for our family and move on from there,” Barten said.

Without brave soldiers like Barten, our freedom and the world as a whole would be nothing like it is today. The next time you see a soldier, make sure you let the soldier know you support them, and are behind them for risking their lives for us to be free.

As for Barten, he is proud of many things he has accomplished in his life, such as his military service, his family, and his hometown of Delano, which is still in his mind.

“I miss my family the most, as well as the seasons, and the snow. I also miss people calling soda, ‘pop,’” Barten said. “It’s the little things.”

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