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Halfway woman tells story of recovering her uncle's helmet

November 21, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

The story made headlines everywhere this past May: A local family was invited to France to reclaim the helmet of a beloved Jason Barron, killed during World War II.

Now, Barron's niece, Halfway resident Linda Barron Heinrich, has published a book recounting the entire story, with hopes that it will inspire others to honor the legacies of fallen soldiers.

The book, "Jason's Helmet: The True Story of a Helmet's Journey Home From the Battlefield," is available at Borders in Hagerstown and Turn The Page bookstore in Boonsboro.

Heinrich, 62, will be signing copies of the book Friday, Nov. 27, at Borders Books, Music and Cafe at the Centre at Hagerstown.

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Jason Barron was a 23-year-old from Somerset, Pa., serving as a lieutenant in F Company, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment. He died and was buried in the French village, Loug-sur-Maire, a village he was trying to defend from recapture by the Germans. It is believed that he and five other U.S. soldiers were killed by shrapnel when they were targeted by a German tank.

For his efforts, Barron posthumously received a Silver Star and Purple Heart.

Two French villagers found the American bodies and held on to Barron's helmet. In early 2000, one of the French villagers tracked down Linda Heinrich Barron, who then tracked down the families of the other soldiers.

The villagers held a ceremony in May to honor Jason Barron and the five other soldiers. The villagers presented the helmet to Jason Barron's brother, Emerson Barron, who is Linda's father.

"Jason's Helmet" provides a thorough account of what happened leading up to the French ceremony nearly 65 years after Jason Barron died. The book details the outpouring of community support that followed.

Since May, Heinrich, a retired teacher, and husband Brian Heinrich, 55, have been speaking to local veterans groups and have been fielding requests from others with hopes of tracking down their lost loved ones.

Heinrich keeps the helmet at her home because possessing it spurs too much emotion for her dad. There's a small hole at the side of the metal helmet, proof of what caused Jason Barron's demise.

"If it had not been for this helmet, we would not know - I would not have known about my uncle, that he liberated a village," Heinrich said. "It makes me feel very proud."

If you go ...



WHAT: Linda Barron Heinrich will sign copies of her book, "Jason's Helmet: The True Story of a Helmet's Journey Home From the Battlefield"

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, Nov. 27

WHERE: Borders Books, Music and Cafe, 17636 Garland Groh Blvd., Hagerstown

CONTACT: Call Borders at 301-745-5897; for more about the book, go to http://jasonshelmet.com.

MORE: The book costs $14.99 and is available at Borders, Turn The Page Bookstore in Boonsboro and from Amazon.com.

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