*LA BELLE, JAMES DENNIS
Rank and organization: Private First Class,
U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Born: 22 November 1925, Columbia Heights, Minn. Accredited
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 of the battle, Pfc. LaBelle had
dug into a foxhole with 2 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 in 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. LaBelle and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the
service of his country.