Barton remembers another war
Published 11:28 am Wednesday, March 26, 2003
By BY LYDIA GRIMES – Features Writer
Last week the Brewton area saw the members of Detachment I of the 1165th M.P. of the Alabama National Guard deployed. One of those who watched was remembering another day when he marched away to war.
Cary Barton was born into a family of 11 children and the seventh son of Eddie Barton Sr. and Dorothy Barton. His home was always filled with sounds of children. His father supported his family by working with Hines Realty Company.
Barton grew up in the Brewton area, attending elementary school at Oak Grove and Oak Grove/Pollard until the tenth grade when the schools were consolidated and he went to W.S. Neal High School. He graduated from Neal in 1972 and got a job in maintenance at Colonial Manor Motel. He then worked at Western Auto for a while before he was hired by Murphy Construction Company. It was while he was working there that he joined the Alabama National Guard in 1975. For the next 15 years he worked at the construction business and attended monthly drills and summer camps with the National Guard. He stopped construction work and got a job driving an 18-wheeler with Pettis Trucking, but didn't like it. He soon was hired by the Alabama Department of Transportation.
In August of 1990, the local unit of the 638th Ordinance Unit of the Alabama National Guard was mobilized to prepare for war.
At that time, the local Guard was part of an ordinance company supplying fuel and ammunition and they were needed in Kuwait to keep supplies going. The unit stayed in Fort Rucker about six weeks and then were sent to Fort Benning, Ga. where they stayed only a matter of hours before flying all the way to Saudi Arabia. When they arrived, they were bussed to a place they called Tent City in the desert. Barton says that it was very hot and dry. They were then convoyed to KKMC which was about 140 miles closer to Iraq and that is where they were when the Gulf War started in January of 1991. The unit kept moving ever closer to Iraq, but were never too close to Baghdad. His whole family was represented as brothers, Fred and Gary; first cousin, Ralph and a nephew, Gerald, were all there.
Barton doesn't hesitate to tell you how he feels about this latest conflict with Iraq. The way he sees it, it should have been done 12 years ago.
Barton was allowed to come back home in May of 1991 to attend his son's graduation, but he had to return to the war front until the unit came home in July of that year. He continued as a member of the guard until 1997 when they divided the unit into the MP detachment and an artillery unit, the 117th Field Artillery. The MP unit is the one that has just recently been deployed. His brother, Fred Barton, is still a member of the artillery unit which is based at Geneva.
Barton came home after the war and went back to work with the Alabama State Department of Transportation where he found that he had been given a promotion in his absence. He continues to work there and is an inmate supervisor at J.O. Davis Correctional Center.
In 1992, Barton decided he wanted to get into politics but made the decision that it was not the right time to run. In 2000, he thought the time was right so he decided to run for the office of city council in his district. He was elected and has worked since then representing the people of his district.
He said he will probably run again and hopes that everyone is satisfied enough with his work to re-elect him.
Barton and his wife, Gloria, have two children, Reginald, who is 30 and also works for the Alabama Department of Transportation, and Crystal, who is 14 and is an eighth grader at Brewton Middle School.
He is a deacon at St. John Missionary Baptist Church on Ridge Road and loves to deer hunt. He has recently started a new hobby of cooking. His wife works different hours and he has started trying to help out with the cooking.
He also loves to work in the yard with his flowers and is looking forward to spring weather so that he can get outside and do some work.
Barton is very proud of his work and his committed to his community and to his nation. He points out that being in the military has been a tradition in his family as his father served in World War II in Germany as a staff sergeant and all the branches of the military have been well represented through other family members.