Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Paul

Last Name: Foster

Birthplace: San Mateo, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: San Francisco, CA
Middle Name: Hellstrom

Date of Birth: 17 April 1939

Date of Death: 14 October 1967

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served: 1961-1967
Paul Hellstrom Foster

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Paul Hellstrom Foster
Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Sergeant Paul Hellstrom Foster (17 April 1939 - 14 October 1967) was a U.S. Marine who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his acts of heroism in Vietnam in October 1967.

Paul Hellstrom Foster was born on 17 April 1939, in San Mateo, CA. 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 on 4 November 1961, in San Francisco, CA, and received recruit training with the 1st Recruit Training Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, and individual combat training with the 2nd Infantry Training Regiment at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

After completion of combat training in March 1962, he joined the 5th 105 mm Howitzer Battery (later redesignated Headquarters Battery, 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division), a Reserve unit, at Navy and Marine Corps Training Center Treasure Island in 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 on 1 February 1966.

Called to active duty in November 1966, Sgt Foster embarked for the Republic of Vietnam, and in December, joined Company H, 3rd Battalion 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. On 14 October 1967, while serving as Artillery Liaison Operations Chief with the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines in Operation Kingfisher (near Con Thien at Wash Out Bridge) Sgt Foster was mortally wounded when he threw himself upon a hand grenade to save the lives of his five comrades. For this self-sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Artillery Liaison Operations Chief with the Second Battalion, Fourth Marines, Third Marine Division, near Con Thien in the Republic of Vietnam. In the early morning hours of 14 October 1967, the Second Battalion was occupying a defensive position which protected a bridge on the road leading from Con Thein to Cam Lo. Suddenly, the Marines' position came under a heavy volume of mortar and artillery fire, followed by an aggressive enemy ground assault. In the ensuing engagement, the hostile forces penetrated the perimeter and brought a heavy concentration of small arms, automatic weapons, and rocket fire to bear on the Battalion Command Post. Although his position in the Fire Support Coordination Center was dangerously exposed to enemy fire and he was wounded when an enemy hand grenade exploded near his position, Sergeant Foster resolutely continued to direct accurate mortar and artillery fire on the advancing North Vietnamese troops. As the attack continued, a hand grenade landed in the midst of Sergeant Foster and his five companions. Realizing the danger, he shouted a warning, threw his armored vest over the grenade, and unhesitatingly placed his own body over the armored vest. When the grenade exploded, Sergeant Foster absorbed the entire blast with his own body and was mortally wounded. His heroic actions undoubtedly saved his comrades from further injury or possible death. Sergeant Foster's courage, extraordinary heroism, and unfaltering devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


The Medal of Honor was presented to Sergeant Foster's family by President Richard M. Nixon, in a ceremony at the White House on 20 June 1969.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Navy Presidential Unit Citation
Organized Marine Corps Reserve Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Sergeant Paul Hellstrom Foster's name is inscribed on Panel 27E, Line 108.

Death and Burial

Sergeant Paul H. Foster was killed in action on 14 October 1967. He is buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California, Section V, Grave 4764.

Honoree ID: 949   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image