John Henry Balch was born on 2 January 1896 in Edgerton, KS. At the time of action, he was a Pharmacist’s Mate First Class, USN. His citation reads, “For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, with the 6th Regiment, United States Marines, in action at Vierzy, on 19 July 1918. Balch unhesitatingly and fearlessly exposed himself to terrific machinegun and high-explosive fire to succor the wounded as they fell in the attack, leaving voluntarily and keeping up the work all day and late into the night unceasingly for 16 hours on a field torn by shell and machinegun fire. Also in the action at Somme-Py on 5 October 1918, he exhibited exceptional bravery in establishing an advanced dressing station under heavy shellfire.”
Following the war John Balch left the Navy and opened a men’s clothing store in Chicago, IL. During World War II, he returned to service as a lieutenant in the Navy Supply Corps and retired a commander in 1957. He died on 15 October 1980 and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, CA (Section 2, Grave 1925)).
In 2005, Naval Medical Clinic in Quantico, VA, was renamed the "John Balch Clinic" in his honor.