“Where The Rubber Meets The Road”: A Sergeant’s Story, From Firestone To Vietnam

Barney Rasor


CSM(R) Barney Rasor grew up in Akron, Ohio. He ran track and played football and baseball in high school, and worked at a Firestone plant making bogey wheels for tanks. During a strike at the plant, he decided to join the Army, and volunteered to be a paratrooper. From 1965 to 1966, he served in Vietnam with C Company, 1st Battalion of the 327th Infantry Regiment in the 101st Airborne Division, earning the Silver Star. He returned to Vietnam in 1967 with 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, the “Golden Brigade,” and served in 3rd Battalion of the 325th Infantry Regiment. He earned another Silver Star on his second tour in Vietnam when he was an Advisor. His third tour to Vietnam was from 1971 to 1972, and he was once again in the 101st Airborne Division. While in the Army, he served around the world in locations like Turkey, Japan, Italy, Hawaii, and Germany. He attended the Sergeants Major Academy in Class 4, and was the first African-American Command Sergeant Major in the Southern European Task Force in Italy. After retiring from the military, he continued to be involved in developing leadership by teaching Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps classes at Purnell Swett High School in Robeson County, North Carolina, for 22 years. Teaching JROTC has allowed him to make a difference in the lives of many of his students. In this interview, he talks about his childhood in Akron, joining the Army, and completing Airborne School. He describes his deployments to Vietnam and some of the engagements he was in. He also reflects on some of his other assignments and achievements. He discusses his role in JROTC, and serving as the President of the Sergeants Major Association at Fort Bragg. Finally, he explains what his service means to him. Stay tuned at the end of the interview as two special guest stars add their recollections of CSM Rasor’s JROTC leadership.


name Barney Rasor
service Infantry
unit C Company, 1st BN, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division; 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division; European Task Force
specialty Purnell Swett High School JROTC
service dates 1954 1985