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John Henry Balch

John Henry Balch was born January 2, 1896, in Edgerton, Kansas. Balch was attending Kansas State University when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy on May 26, 1917, and quickly became a Pharmacist First Mate. On July 19, 1918, in Vierzy, France, Balch and fellow soldiers were under heavy enemy fire when Balch left the dressing station to attend to the wounded and bring them back to the dressing station working for 16 hours straight. On October 5, 1918, in Somme-Py, France, Balch set up a dressing station under enemy fire to help attend to the wounded. For both of these actions Balch received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1919 after he was honorably discharged. Balch served again in World War II in Australia and the Philippines, and was promoted to commander in 1950. During his time in the military, Balch received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, and the French Croix de Guerre, among many other awards. Balch died October 15, 1980, and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.

Entry: Balch, John Henry

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: April 2016

Date Modified: January 2022

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.