John Balch

John Henry Balch was a United States Naval Reserve officer and a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in World War I.

Prior to the actions in which he was subsequently awarded the Medal of Honor, Balch was involved in the Battle of Belleau Wood where he was wounded. On October 5, 1918, he showed exceptional bravery by establishing an aid station under intense fire. Acting as a Pharmacist’s Mate, he was credited with carrying wounded Marines to safety and thereby saving their lives.

On August 19, 1919, Balch received an honorable discharge as a Pharmacist’s Mate First Class. One-month later he was presented the Medal of Honor by Rear Admiral F. B. Bassett at the YMCA in Chicago, Illinois. In September 1942, Balch rejoined the Navy as a lieutenant and served stateside as well as Australia and the Philippines before eventually retiring on June 1, 1950 from the Naval Reserve with the rank of commander and one of the most decorated sailors in US Navy history.