Leroy Lewis Barton was born in Cleveland County, Oklahoma, on July 1, 1918, son of P.W. Barton and Mettie Faye Lessly Barton. He attended Stroud, Oklahoma, Trade School and McLowd and Bethel High School, and enlisted in the US Navy in March 1941. He was designated Naval Aviator (1312) in March 1943, and was commissioned Lieutenant (junior grade) on July 2, 1955.
He had general detail assignments from March 1941 until May 1942, when he was ordered to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, for flight training. Upon completion of the course in March 1943, he was ordered to Kodiak, Alaska, where he had personnel and ordnance duties at the Naval Air Station. He was detached in November 1944 and a month later reported to the Naval Air Station, Squantum, Massachusetts, for duties in Material and Aviation Equipment Divisions, and as a pilot.
From July 1948 to September 1949 he was assigned to Fleet Air Wing 14, (Operations), based at San Diego, California. He then returned to Kodiak as a pilot, and after a year there, had duty as a pilot, attached successively to the USS Siboney, USS Oriskany and USS Wisconsin. While an Aviation Controlman, First Class, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross “For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as Pilot of a Helicopter, based on board the USS Wisconsin, during rescue missions in enemy held territory in Korea on 21 January and 4 February 1952…” The citation further states:
“Flying his aircraft to within one mile of the hostile shore line in the Hungnam area, Barton successfully rescued a downed pilot despite enemy gunfire from the beach. Although his helicopter was hit by hostile anti-aircraft fire while he was attempting to locate another downed airman in enemy-held territory near Kojo, he continued to search the area in the face of intense ground fire until darkness and shortage of fuel forced him to return to his base…”
Detached from the Wisconsin in May 1952, he joined Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 3, and served as a pilot until February 1954. He was then transferred to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, where he served until August 1955 as a Test Pilot. Since September 1955 he has been assigned as a Pilot and Executive Officer of Helicopter Unit 2, based at the Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, New Jersey, and on board the USS Glacier, and icebreaker of the Navy’s Antarctic Expedition.
In addition to the Distinguished Flying Cross, Lieutenant (jg) Barton has the Good Conduct Medal; the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; and United Nations Service Medal.