Rohe Track Era All About Us!

Rohe Track Era Military


Bob Barber

UT Cross Country & Track: 1963-1967; Distance Runner (XC & Two Mile Run); XC Captain (1966); SEC XC Place Winner (1965--finished 5th, UT took first six places; 1966-finished 4th, first UT runner to finish); Member of Winning Team at National USTFF XC Championships (1964-Finished 17th); SEC Indoor T&F Place Winner (1965-4th-Two Mile Run; 1966-2nd-Two Mile Run, 1967-4th-Two-Mile Run), and SEC Outdoor T&F Place Winner (1966-3rd-Two Mile Run-UT took first five places).

Military Service: US Army, 1968-1970, Specialist 4th Class.

Vietnam: January 11, 1969 to January 10, 1970; Combat Infantryman; Private; Company B, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.

Medals: Bronze Star with V device (the Bronze Star Medal is the fourth-highest individual military award in the US Military and when awarded for acts of heroism it is awarded with the "V" device); Purple Heart with 1st Oak Leaf Cluster; Combat Infantryman Badge; National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal with three campaign stars; and Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960 device.

Bronze Star Citation (In Part): While on a combat operation, Pvt. Barber's company came in contact with a large enemy force. His unit sustained several casualties and with complete disregard for his own safety, Pvt. Barber moved through the enemy kill zone to the aid of his fallen comrades. After administering life-saving first-aid to injured men, Pvt. Barber fearlessly remained in his exposed position as he placed devastating fire on the enemy. His valorous actions were responsible for saving several lives. Pvt. Barber's personal bravery, aggressiveness, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon him.

Post-UT Track: In 2006, 40 years after arriving at UT, Bob was the USATF Masters National Champion in the indoor 3000 Meter and One Mile runs for age group 60-64 at Reggie Lewis Center in Boston. That same year in July, at the USATF Masters Outdoor T&F Championships in Charlotte, NC, Bob won the 60-64 age group 2000 Meter Steeplechase (and set an American record in the event) and was second in the 10K. In the fall of 2006 he won the USATF National 5K XC Championship for age group 60-64 in Saratoga, New York. In 2007 Bob repeated winning the 2000 Meter Steeplechase in Orono Maine, and again, finished second in the 10K. Also, in 2007 he was second in the 60-64 age group at the USATF Masters National 8K XC Championship in Boulder, Colorado.

Comments from Bob Barber: I would say the thing that carried over for me from UT to Viet Nam, and then more so in business was the positive attitude Coach Rohe and sports competition instilled in us. Good isn't enough---try to do better. Also teamwork, the distance runners competed like hell all week in practice against each other, and in the meets. But we were all good friends and enjoyed each other's company after the competitions. Some of us weren't stars at UT, I certainly wasn't, but we remained competitive throughout our life. I was drafted out of grad school for military service. So I don't deserve the war hero tag. The true heroes are the ones that made the sacrifices for our country after voluntarily signing up. However, I will admit that UT XC made me ideal for jungle warfare. I couldn't punch my way out of a paper bag in a fight, but I was similar to the Viet Cong---I was in great shape, small and lean, with the endurance to endure three or four day missions carrying a 30 lb. machine gun. Also, since Chuck never allowed us to drink water during 14 mile workouts, I had that edge when the water ran out and the only water available was from a dirty stream.