Rank and organization:   Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
Birth:   22 November 1925, Columbia Heights, Minn.
Accredited to:   Minnesota.
Citation:   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.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)