PAUL HELLSTROM FOSTER, USMCR
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Medal of Honor Citation
Paul Hellstrom Foster, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in October 1967, was born 17 April 1939, in San Mateo, California. He attended elementary and high schools there, and was a member of the varsity football and track teams. After graduating from high school in 1957, he went to work as an automobile mechanic helper.
He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 4 November 1961, in San Francisco, California, and received recruit training with the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, and individual combat training with the 2d Infantry Training Regiment, Camp Pendleton.
After completion of combat training in March 1962, he joined the 5th 105mm Howitzer Battery (later redesignated Headquarters Battery, 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division), a Reserve unit, at Navy and Marine Corps Training Center, Treasure Island, San Francisco. While on inactive duty, he was promoted to private first class in March 1963, to lance corporal in August 1963; to corporal in April 1964, and to sergeant, 1 February 1966.
Called to active duty in November 1966, Sgt Foster embarked for the Republic of Vietnam, and in December, joined Company H, 3d Battalion, 12th Marines, 3d Marine Division. While serving as an Artillery Liaison Operations Chief with the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division, near Con Thien on 14 October 1967, Sgt Foster was mortally wounded when he threw himself upon a hand grenade to save the lives of his five comrades.
His medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation; the National Defense Service Medal; the Organized Marine Corps Reserve Medal; the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star; and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.