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The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the SILVER STAR Medal to

FIRST LIEUTENANT JOSEPH HENRY BELSER, JR.
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

  for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Platoon Commander with Company K, Third Battalion, Twenty-Seventh Marines, First Marine Division in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 24 May 1968 during Operation Allen Brook in Quang Nam Province, Company K was attacking the village of Le Bac (1) which was well fortified and occupied by a large North Vietnamese Army force. As the company approached the area it came under intense automatic weapons fire and two platoons were separated from the remainder of the company. Assigned to assist the besieged units and in an attempt to envelop the enemy, First Lieutenant BELSER moved his reserve platoon to within 300 meters of the hostile positions when the Marines encountered heavy fire which inflicted several casualties, including First Lieutenant BELSER. Calmly informing his men of the situation, and although seriously wounded in the arm, he courageously moved across the fire-swept area from one position to another, encouraging his men and directing their fire while simultaneously keeping his commanding officer appraised of the situation. Under his courageous leadership, his men successfully repulsed repeated attempts by the enemy to overrun their position. Assisted by a platoon from Company M, First Lieutenant BELSER utilized supporting arms fire, hand grenades and a smoke screen to withdraw his platoon along with their casualties to the company perimeter. Informed that Company M was heavily engaged with the enemy and had sustained numerous casualties, he refused to be evacuated for treatment of his injury and organized a group of Marines to retrieve the casualties. With complete disregard for his own safety, he made several trips into the fire-swept area until he was wounded in the leg by the intense enemy fire and subsequently evacuated. By his courage, dynamic leadership and selfless devotion to duty in the face of grave personal risk, First Lieutenant BELSER inspired all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.