John Powers Barron was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 10, 1917, son of George R. and Carrie E. (Powers) Barron. He entered the US Naval Academy on June 11, 1936, on appointment from Pennsylvania, and was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science and commissioned Ensign in the US Navy on July 6, 1940. Through subsequent advancement, he attained the rank of Commander, to date from January 1, 1951.
After graduation from the Naval Academy in July 1940, he was assigned to the USS Louisville, and served as a junior watch and division officer during the period preceding and following the outbreak of World War II in December 1941. Detached in July 1942, he spent the next nine months as a student Naval Aviator at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, and upon completion of Flight Training was assigned duty as Assistant Flight Instructor at the Naval Air Station, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. During the period December 1943 until March 1944 he served successively as Flight Officer of Composite Squadron 79 and Executive Officer of Composite Squadron 8.
As Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron 46 from April 1944 until September1945, he participated in the Iwo Jima – Okinawa operations and was in the first carrier groups to attack Tokyo. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with two Gold Stars, with citations following:
Distinguished Flying Cross: “For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as Pilot of a Fighter Plane and leader of Fighting Squadron FORTY SIX, attached to the USS Independence, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of Tokyo Bay, Iwo Jima, Kyushu and Nansei Shoto from February 16 to June 6, 1945. Completing his twentieth mission during this period, Lieutenant Commander Barron contributed materially to the success of his squadron in the infliction of extensive damage on the enemy…”
Air Medal: “For meritorious achievement in aerial flight as Pilot and Squadron Leader of Fighting Squadron FORTY SIX, attached to the USS Independence, in action against enemy Japanese Homeland Areas from February 16 to March 24, 1945. Participating in five missions during this period, (he) contributed materially to the success of his squadron in the infliction of damage on enemy installations…”
The Gold Star in lieu of the Second Air Medal was for action in the vicinity of the Tokyo Bar Area, Volcano Islands, Ryukyu and Kyushu Islands, from February 16 to April 1, 1945, during which he completed his tenth mission; and the Gold Star in lieu of the Third Air Medal for operations in the vicinity of the Japanese Homeland from February 16 to April 29, 1945, during which he participated in fifteen strikes and lead his squadron against hostile shipping, airfields and industrial installations in heavily defended areas. All citations state that his “outstanding courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the US Naval Service.”
After the war, from December 1945 until May 1946 he commanded Torpedo Squadron 4, then served until November 1948 as Senior Engineering Instructor at the US Naval School, Preflight, at Pensacola, Florida. He next had sea duty, December 1948 until September 1950, as Navigation Officer of the USS Leyte, on occupation duty in the European Area part of that time. Reporting in October 1950 to the US Naval School, General Line, Monterey, California, he served until November 1952 as Instructor in Navigation, International Relations and International Law, and also acted as Assistant Flight Liaison Officer between the Postgraduate School and the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Monterey.
He had six months’ duty as Operations and Training Officer on the Staff of Commander Utility Wing, Pacific, and in May 1953 assumed command of Utility Squadron 5. He remained in that command until August 1954, and in October of that year became Administrative Officer of the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Cabaniss Field, Corpus Christi, Texas, and later served as Executive Officer of that station. Since January 1958 he has been assigned to the US Naval Support Force, Antarctica, for the Navy’s DEEP FREEZE expedition.
In addition to the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with two Gold Stars, Commander Barron has the Ribbon for the Navy Unit Commendation awarded the USS Cowpens and her Air Groups (of which Fighting Squadron 46 was a part); the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Europe Clasp; and the National Defense Service Medal.