We look to the Navy for our next Medal of Honor recipient.  Commander John Henry Balch was born January 2, 1896 at Edgerton, Kansas, and there we have his Kansas connection.  He enlisted in the Navy at Kansas City, Missouri, on May 26, 1917 in an officers training program.  From there he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment and was sent to France.

Balch, acting as a Pharmacist’s Mate, distinguished himself at Vierzy in July, 1918, by repeatedly carrying wounded Marines to safety while under heavy fire.  He showed similar bravery in October at Somme-Py.  In addition, he was wounded at the Battle of Belleau Wood.

He would return to the Navy in World War II, remaining in the Naval Reserve until 1950.  He died on October 15, 1980 at Sun City, California, and is buried in that state at the Riverside National Cemetery.

For a more complete information, check here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Henry_Balch

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.