Clifford Eugene Barker

Military

Object Number - UPL 23408 - Cliff Barker Left Waist Gunner - Rohner Crew 401st BG POW One of the legendary "Fabulous Five" for Adolph Rupp at the University of...

Barker, a native of Yorktown, Ind., was a burly 6-foot-2 inch forward on the 1948 Kentucky team that finished the season with a 36-3 record, the national title and the nickname of the Fabulous Five. The other starters were Wallace (Wah Wah) Jones at forward, Kenny Rollins at guard and two all-Americans: Alex Groza at center and Ralph Beard at guard. Their coach was Adolph Rupp.

After that season, the Kentucky team played in the trials to select the United States team for the 1948 Olympics. In the final game of the trials, Kentucky lost by 4 points to the Phillips Oilers, a semiprofessional team. The five Kentucky starters joined Phillips players on the Olympic team and won the gold medal.

In 1949, Kentucky, with a 32-2 record, won the N.C.A.A. championship again. Then the team of Barker, Groza, Beard, Jones and Joe Holland turned professional and became the nucleus and part-owners of the Indianapolis Olympians of the N.B.A
Barker was older than his college teammates at Kentucky because he left school after his freshman year to serve in the Army Air Forces.

A gunner in a B-17 bomber, he was shot down over Germany and held as a prison of war there for 16 months. He filled idle time in prison camp by bouncing and passing a volleyball, the only ball he could find. When he returned to college, his ball-handling skills were remarkable.

"He had good hands, exceptional hand," his Kentucky teammate Rollins said. "His hands were very sensitive to the ball. And he was able to visualize things on the floor that other people couldn't see."

After his pro career, Barker taught and coached at high schools in Indiana, Kentucky and Florida. His last public appearance came Feb. 1 when the surviving members of the Fabulous Five (Groza died in 1995) were introduced before the Kentucky-Florida game.

Shot down during bombing mission over Brunswick, Germany 30 Jan 1944 in B-17G #42-37856 'Fancy Nancy III. ' Prisoner of War (POW).
POW

Connections

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Units served with

A pathfinder B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 44-8258) of the 401st Bomb Group. Image by Robert Astrella. Written on slide casing: '48258 14 A, Mount Farm.'
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 613th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-803692
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Ol Massa
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 613th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Sac Hound
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 613th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Fools Luck III
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 612th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Fancy Nancy III
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 612th Bomb Squadron

Missions

Places

  • Site type: Prisoner of war camp
  • Known as: Stalag Luft 4, Gross Tychow, Pomerania

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

Yorktown, Indiana 15 January 1921

Other

Shot Down/Captured

Brunswick, Germany 30 January 1944 a/c shot down by Fw190 fighters.

Other

NCAA National Championship

New York, NY, USA 29 March 1948 Cliff Barker was a starter for the legendary Adolph Rupp and one of the "Fabulous Five" on the University of Kentucky's 1st National Championship team that defeated Baylor 58-42

Other

NCAA National Championship

Seattle, WA, USA 26 March 1949 Cliff Barker was a senior starting forward for the University of Kentucky when they won their 2nd consecutive basketball National Championship defeating Oklahoma A&M 46-36

Died

Satsuma, FL 32189, USA 17 March 1998

Buried

Yorktown, IN, USA 21 March 1998 Hawk Cemetery Yorktown Delaware County Indiana, USA

Other

POW

Tychowo, Poland Stalag Luft IV

Other

Graduated

Lexington, KY, USA University of Kentucky

Other

Olympic Gold Medalist

London, UK Cliff Barker won an Olympic gold medal as part of the USA National basketball team in London, UK.

Revisions

Date19 Jan 2020 21:52:37
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added the award mentioned in the "Summary biography" section.

Date19 Jan 2020 21:49:28
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added nickname "Possible DUPLICATE" so an admin can check out this person.

Date27 Sep 2014 18:06:28
ContributorAAM
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 2276, 8th AF Losses, http://www.401bg.org/Main/History/Members/Details.aspx?ID=1182

Clifford Eugene Barker: Gallery (3 items)