Major General Olinto Mark Barsanti had the pleasure of serving his
country in three major conflicts during his thirty-three years of
service in the United States Army. Born in 1917, Barsanti joined the
Army at age 22 and was promoted to Major before he saw his first
conflict. In 1942, Barsanti met and married Althea Howell, and two years
later arrived on the coast of France, for the beginning of World War II.
Upon returning home, Barsanti entered the Command and General Staff
College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and was invited to join the
faculty, where he remained for three years. This time at home allowed
him to grow his family, with the birth of his daughter Bette, in 1947.
In 1949, Barsanti was stationed in Japan to serve in General
Headquarters, Far East Command and in June 1950, he played a major role
in establishing a command post for General of the Army Douglas MacArthur
at the start of the Korean War.
Barsanti was stationed in West Germany in 1954, where he was promoted to
Colonel and took the position as Chief of Staff, Berlin Command. During
this time, Barsanti completed Basic Airborne training with the 101st
Airborne Division, which he would later command. In 1957, he was
reassigned to Washington, D.C. where he served in various high level
roles while earning his diploma from the National War College.
In 1963, Barsanti returned to combat duty in South Korea as Assistant
Division Commander for Combat Operations for the 7th Infantry Division.
In this position he was promoted to Brigadier General, becoming one of
the youngest generals in the U.S. Army at the age of 46.
In 1976, he was promoted to Major General, and shortly thereafter
assumed command of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell,
Kentucky. The Screaming Eagles, as they were known, played a major role
in the defense of major towns during the Tet Offensive, and had a strong
track record throughout Barsanti’s time commanding them.
Due to his declining health, Barsanti left the 101st Airborne Division
in 1968 and took on the role as Chief of Staff of the Fifth Army in Fort
Sheridan, IL. He retired from the Army in 1971, moving into a private
sector business role, before dying of cancer in 1973. His thirty-three
years of service left him highly respected amongst his peers, and one of
the most highly decorated American soldier in history with over sixty