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Balfour, Maj. Ronald Edmund | Barancik, Pfc. Richard M. | Bencowitz, Capt. Isaac

Barancik, Pfc. Richard M.  

Private First Class, Combat Infantry-66th Division, Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Richard M. Barancik enlisted in the Army ERC (Enlisted Reserve Corps) in December 1942 and attended ASTP (Army Specialized Training Program) for basic engineering in 1943 at the University of Nebraska. In 1944 Barancik was sent to Camp Rucker to join the newly formed 66th Division and was soon transferred to England. On Christmas Eve his Division boarded transports to France intending to join the Battle of the Bulge. Part of his group was aboard the S.S. Leopoldville, the Belgian transport that was torpedoed by a German submarine, killing over 700 U.S. servicemen. Rather than join the Battle of the Bulge, the 66th, due to their heavy losses, replaced the division surrounding St. Nazaire. Following the German surrender, Barancik and his division were sent to Marseilles enroute to Japan when the Japanese surrendered. At that point, Barancik joined the 42nd Division in Austria where he heard about the Monuments Men group and applied for duty.

He was assigned to the MFAA in Salzburg, Austria where he was stationed for three months. “When I arrived in Salzburg, I was not only overwhelmed by the beauty of the town but the quality of the men in the Fine Arts Section. They were typically older and very well educated in the Fine Arts.”[1]

Following his MFAA assignment, Barancik was assigned to the Royal Institute of Architects in London as part of a program for professionals to readjust back into civilian professions. After returning to Austria, he was then given orders for detached duty to the London Area Command where he was able to attend Cambridge. Barancik studied architecture at the University of Cambridge in 1946 and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts at Fontainebleau, France in 1947. He received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Bachelor of Science in General Studies at the University of Illinois in 1948.

A member of the American Institute of Architects, Barancik practiced in Chicago from 1950 to 1993 and specialized in hi-rise apartment buildings, office campuses, shopping centers, and hotels. He has been a board member of the Chicago Latin School, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, Monterey Institute of International Studies and the Monterey Museum of Art. His affiliations include The Arts Club and The Casino Club in Chicago as well as the Pebble Beach and Tennis Club and Old Capital Club in California.

[1] Richard Barancik letter, May 15, 2008.


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