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La BELLE, JAMES

labelle james d

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 8 March 1945. Filling a gap in the front lines during a critical phase in the battle, Pfc. La Belle had dug into a foxhole with two other marines and, grimly aware of the enemy's persistent attempts to blast a way through our lines with hand grenades, applied himself with steady concentration to maintaining a sharply vigilant watch during the hazardous night hours. Suddenly a hostile grenade landed beyond reach of his foxhole. Quickly estimating the situation, he determined to save the others if possible, shouted a warning, and instantly dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the exploding charge in his own body and thereby protecting his comrades from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, he had unhesitatingly relinquished his own chance of survival that his fellow marines might carry on the relentless fight against a fanatic enemy. His dauntless courage, cool decision, and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon Pfc. La Belle and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

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Service

Rank

Division

U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Private First Class 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division

Conflict

Year of honor

born

World War Two 1945 Columbia Heights, Hennepin County, Minnesota

Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 8 March 1945. Filling a gap in the front lines during a critical phase in the battle, Pfc. La Belle had dug into a foxhole with two other marines and, grimly aware of the enemy's persistent attempts to blast a way through our lines with hand grenades, applied himself with steady concentration to maintaining a sharply vigilant watch during the hazardous night hours. Suddenly a hostile grenade landed beyond reach of his foxhole. Quickly estimating the situation, he determined to save the others if possible, shouted a warning, and instantly dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the exploding charge in his own body and thereby protecting his comrades from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, he had unhesitatingly relinquished his own chance of survival that his fellow marines might carry on the relentless fight against a fanatic enemy. His dauntless courage, cool decision, and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon Pfc. La Belle and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.