Bobby Barrera always wanted to be in the military, and once he got in, he wanted to go to Vietnam. But he’d only been there for six weeks when his entire world and life would change forever in a huge fireball. As his armored personnel carrier was crossing a rice paddy and the Viet Cong command-detonated a 500-pound bomb.
While his injuries would be severe and push him to the brink, he turned his life around, with the help of his amazing wife. He has since for the past 50 plus years dedicated his life to helping other veterans. He is an amazing person who epitomizes selfless service.
Barrera was born in Del Rio, Texas, right next to the Mexican border and about 150 miles west of San Antonio. Growing up and graduating high school in Del Rio, “my thing was I always wanted to be a Marine,” he said. He wanted to join the Corps right out of high school, but his father said to him that as the fourth child in the family to graduate from high school, he wanted Bobby to be the first one to go to college.
“I went to college for two years and decided it wasn’t for me,” Barrera said. After partying hard and drinking too hard in Junior college for two years, he knew what he wanted to do and went on his own to see a Marine recruiter. He joined up in 1968 and went to Marine Corps boot camp and advanced infantry school at Camp Pendelton, California.