Headlines are always reserved for commanders in wartime, the
ground-gainers who lead task forces and divisions and armies.
There is nothing wrong about this, although it seems sorrowful
that hard working staff officers get lost in the shuffle. I sing
the praises of Andrew Barr, Lt. Colonel, G-2 [Division Headquarters
As a buck sergeant, shanghaied into Headquarters, 3rd Armored
Division as a public relations specialist with no T.O. promise
of higher rating because the army was just beginning to think
about news coverage, I got to know and respect Andy Barr.
By my standards - and remember that I was rather youthful
at the time - Barr seemed already old and going to waistline.
He was probably in his forties, bespectacled and apparently sedentary.
I'd sure like to be that young today!
But Andy was the best, one of the finest gentlemen I ever
knew and one of Third Armored Division's centurions. Like a benevolent
spider he sat in G-2 and knew just about everything that was
happening on our side or in enemy territory. Barr should have
been at high command level, not division, because he was both
a warm human being and a faultless flesh-and-blood computer.
There was no "garbage in and garbage out" with him;
he tilted his astute head on one side, thought it out - and came
up with the right answer.
Barr wasn't an old line soldier. He was a civilian technician,
purely and simply - a brain. Those of us who worked under him
knew it whenever we peered into his squinted eyes behind spectacles.
We knew that there was no possibility of outmaneuvering so erudite
and cool a man. He seemed to know everything that had happened,
everything that was happening, and was pretty well able to diagnose
If this account seems to blueprint a cold satrap of authority,
I assure you that Barr was never aloof and mechanical. Always
he had a twinkle in his eye. Always he evaluated his "troops"
and made allowances for honest transgressions. He could be tough,
but he was fair. In the G-2 section he chastised us when we were
wrong, and he protected us when we had made honest mistakes.
He was so goddamned sharp that no subterfuge could fool him,
and he would fight our battles so long as we leveled with him
and offered all facts.
Obviously, I am fond of Andy Barr. I worked under him - and
under Haynes Dugan, who was Third Armored Division's public relations
officer throughout that war. Dugan was also easy to get along
with, so long as you did a job. There was no "chicken"
and no problem.
I have very recently learned that Andy Barr has retired from
Federal Service as chief accountant of the FEC, and has now become
Visiting Professor of Accountancy in the College of Commercial
and Business Administration at the University of Illinois. I
wish him all of the best.
And, if any of his students read this, I offer advice. This
man will be very sharp, gimlet-eyed and inquiring. Nothing will
escape him. He will seem to know everything. He will have a sense
of humor and he will demand perfection. Andrew Barr has never
been the sort of character who accepts second place.
There is always glory for the leaders and flowers for conquerors.
Too often we forget the brain that provides information essential
Cold figures tell us that Andy Barr is getting old, as all
of us are who served in that war. But let no student under-rate
him! Once, he directed the whirlwind, and never faltered. He
is a great soldier, a great philosopher, and a grand citizen