According to the December 1953 The Ring, p. 40, Barksdale was serving in Korea with the 567th Medical Company:
"Barksdale had an outstanding amateur record before turning pro early in 1950. He engaged in 129 amateur bouts, winning 124 of them. Four of the losses were on split decisions and in other other bout, his second, he was stopped.
"Elmer turned the tables on three of five of the men who beat him. Jimmy Mitchell, of Oakland, Calif., one of the men who defeated him, went on to win the National A.A.U. and Olympic titles. As a professional, Barksdale had 24 fights and scored twenty victories. Among those he fought were Freddie Russo, Charley Titone, Proctor Heinhold, Jimmy Cooper, Basil Marie and Gene Smith.
"Before going into service Barksdale attended Morgan State College. Joe Black, of the Brooklyn Dodgers' pitching staff, also attended Morgan.
"In 1951, Elmer engaged in two bouts scheduled for unusual distances. He headlined against Leo LeBrun and Freddie Russo in nine rounders in Baltimore, winning both fights."