New Artifact on Display: Helmet of Joseph K. Barrineau
There’s something new at the Museum! On loan for the next year, the helmet of of Corbin, Kentucky, who served with the 5th Infantry Division will be on display in our .
There’s something new at the Museum! On loan for the next year, the helmet of Joseph K. Barrineau of Corbin, Kentucky, who served with the 5th Infantry Division will be on display in our Normandy Gallery.
So what makes this helmet so special?
It’s the remarkable story it tells about heavy fighting to liberate Northern France after D-Day.
More than a month after D-Day near Vidouville, France as Operation Cobra and the Allied breakout from Normandy was underway on July 26, 1944, the 5th US Infantry Division launched its first attack of the war against the heavily fortified German-held village. Among the lead elements, was twenty-one year-old Private First Class Joseph K. Barrineau. As Barrineau and the attack advanced into the outskirts of Vidouville, German defenders opened fire with heavy, machine gun, and mortar fire. Immediately, Barrineau was hit with shrapnel across his back, shoulders and legs. After his evacuation to a rear area aid station, Barrineau removed his helmet and noticed for the first time, the hole where a machine gun bullet had penetrated his helmet, sliced through the suspension webbing that rested against his head, and then exited out the other side. Amazingly, Barrineau had no injuries to his head.
To welcome this artifact to the Museum and to commemorate what would have been Joseph K. Barrineau’s 92nd birthday, 18 members of the Barrineau family visited the Museum on Monday, January 4, 2016.
Post by Katherine Odell, Social Media Coordinator at The National WWII Museum.