b. 21/07/1924 Accoville, West Virginia. d. 19/11/1966 Plei Djereng, Vietnam.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 19/11/1966 Plei Djereng, Vietnam.
Ted Belcher was born on July 21, 1924, in Accoville, West Virginia, to Lee and Roxie Belcher. Belcher grew up in Logan County and lived in a sizeable family with seven siblings, including Nellie and Virgil Belcher. His grandparents were George Washington Belcher and Amanda A. Thompson, both also living in Logan County. He was raised a Baptist, and regularly attended church. Belcher attended grammar school and worked on a farm with his parents for most of his youth, experiencing the Great Depression first hand at a young age. Logan County’s main economic activity was coal mining, and it was the site of the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921, just three years before Belcher was born. The Great Depression damaged the local economy, forcing many to move out or lose their jobs due to the troubles they faced.
Belcher wanted to serve in World War II and enlisted in 1943 in the Army, seeing service during that war. He stayed in the National Guard after the war and, in 1949, married Helen Johnson, a young divorcee. Belcher was 24 at the time and would later have multiple children. Belcher rose through the ranks as an infantryman to become a sergeant in the 25th Infantry Division.
Ted Belcher had himself transferred from the National Guard back to active duty in 1963. In 1966, he was deployed to Vietnam as a part of 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division stationed at Plei Djereng Camp in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. While Belcher was leading a unit in Charlie Company, the 14th Infantry Regiment was tasked with attacking and routing a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) force that was consolidating near the border of Cambodia, which threatened to split the highlands in half. This was a part of Operation Paul Revere IV, which saw the 1st Battalion engage two battalions of North Vietnamese Army troops. While leading his squad during a reconnaissance mission with the rest of Charlie and Bravo Companies on November 19, 1966, the platoon Sgt. Belcher was in started to receive heavy fire from camouflaged North Vietnamese snipers. Sgt. Belcher led his squad in a push to engage the enemy and directed fire on the opposing side. While advancing, a grenade was thrown in the middle of his squad and Sgt. Belcher unhesitatingly smothered the grenade with his own body, sacrificing his own life in order to save the men under his command.
Ted Belcher’s posthumous Medal of Honor was presented to his family at The Pentagon on 6 December 1968 by the Secretary of the Army, Stanley R. Resor. Ted Belcher’s name lives on today, in the form of a memorial bridge dedicated in 1999 by the West Virginia Legislature on the Robert C. Byrd Freeway, Corridor G, Highway 119, in Logan County, West Virginia. Belcher’s name is also inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial-the Wall, Panel 12E, Line 086. Ted Belcher is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Zanesville, Ohio.
Distinguishing himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life. Sgt. Belcher’s unit was engaged in a search and destroy mission with Company B, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, the Battalion Reconnaissance Platoon and a special forces company of civilian irregular defense group personnel. As a squad leader of the 2d Platoon of Company C, Sgt. Belcher was leading his men when they encountered a bunker complex. The reconnaissance platoon, located a few hundred meters northwest of Company C, received a heavy volume of fire from well camouflaged snipers. As the 2d Platoon moved forward to assist the unit under attack, Sgt. Belcher and his squad, advancing only a short distance through the dense jungle terrain, met heavy and accurate automatic weapons and sniper fire. Sgt. Belcher and his squad were momentarily stopped by the deadly volume of enemy fire. He quickly gave the order to return fire and resume the advance toward the enemy. As he moved up with his men, a hand grenade landed in the midst of the sergeant’s squad. Instantly realizing the immediate danger to his men, Sgt. Belcher, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his safety, lunged forward, covering the grenade with his body. Absorbing the grenade blast at the cost of his life, he saved his comrades from becoming casualties.
BURIAL LOCATION: GREENWOOD CEMETERY, ZANESVILLE, OHIO.
AREA C, LOT 11
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.