Corporal Joseph William Barillo
A Sacrifice Not Forgotten
By Dan Hall
This nation has been involved in a number of wars since its inception. Men and women from all backgrounds have answered the call to duty. The sacrifices that have been made by ordinary people have resulted in the freedoms we enjoy today. Many Hornellians have contributed to our freedom. These soldiers put the needs of their country before themselves. Some of them have paid the ultimate price. One of those was Corporal Joseph William Barillo.
In a small plot of land, adjacent to Big Creek in North Hornell is a stone monument. The monument is to remember the sacrifice that Joseph Barillo made for our country. Joe grew up in North Hornell during the fifties. Barillo graduated from Hornell High School in 1965 and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1966. He was a member of D Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Infantry Regiment. Shortly after boot camp, Joe was sent to Viet Nam. He was wounded twice during his tour. Both times, he risked his life to save a fellow soldier. Years later, Joe’s family had several visits from these men. They confirmed that Joe’s courage under extreme conditions saved their lives. The second time Joe was wounded and upon his recovery, he had only had a few days left to finish his tour. He was given the option of staying in the facility or returning to the field. Shortly after returning to duty, Joe lost his life at Quang Tri, South Viet Nam on July 6, 1967. This was a result of a three day siege on his position. The bunker he, First Sergeant Jettie Rivers, Captain Richard J. Sasek, Commanding Officer, John J. Van Vleck, and LCpl Edward M. Brady, took a direct hit.
The fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975 brought an end to the Viet Nam campaign. There are 58.196 soldiers names on the Viet Nam Wall in Washington. On Panel 23E – Line 16, Joseph William Barillo’s name is listed. Joe was honored with two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star and a Vietnamese citation for gallantry.
There are not enough words, ceremonies, parades, or monuments that can express the gratitude that all Americans should have for our fallen veterans. Joe was a hometown guy that represented the best in all of us. He brought compassion and conviction to everything he was involved with. Joe served his country with great honor and dignity. His friendship was shared by all who made his acquaintance. Joe’s spirit lives on today in the hearts of all who knew him. A son, a brother, a friend, a teammate, and a Marine. A man of uncommon valor that sacrificed for our freedom. A sacrifice not to be forgotten.