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IN HONOR OF GERARD BELCHER
(Extensions of Remarks - April 26, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E567-E568]
                       IN HONOR OF GERARD BELCHER

                                 ______
                                 

                             HON. ANDY BARR

                              of kentucky

                    in the house of representatives

                         Friday, April 26, 2013

  Mr. BARR. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the contributions of 
Mr. Gerard Belcher, who was born in Pike County, Kentucky into a family 
of eight children. Mr. Belcher's story is an all-American story--the 
story of the American Dream.
  His father was a coal miner and his mother was a homemaker. As a 
young man, Mr. Belcher spent hours in the backwoods and mountains of 
eastern Kentucky hunting, trapping, and exploring caves. These hours 
spent in the woods would later provide critical skills for his 
experience in the jungles of Vietnam.
  Mr. Belcher volunteered to serve our country in the Army. He trained 
as a paratrooper and became an expert with the rifle, pistol, Bowie 
knife, and hand to hand combat. He was selected first in his class at 
the Army Leadership School in Fort Polk, Louisiana where he also 
volunteered for combat in Vietnam.
  In August 1968, he was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division and was 
soon selected to join

[[Page E568]]

the special operations Mobile Riverine Force (MRF) operating with naval 
ships, boats, and personnel along the Mekong River of South Vietnam.
  After surviving four months of intense combat, he was promoted to 
sergeant and volunteered to walk point, a position with a life span of 
approximately three weeks. He served for over four months, using the 
skills he learned in the hills of eastern Kentucky to protect himself 
and his fellow soldiers until he was shot five times during an ambush 
operation. Fortunately, he survived this attack.
  Mr. Belcher was decorated with the Army Commendation Medal for Valor 
twice, earned the Air Medal, combat infantryman's Badge, Vietnam 
Service and Campaign Ribbons, the elite spear-header shoulder patch of 
the MRF, and the Purple Heart.
  After his military service, he attended the University of Kentucky on 
the GI bill where he earned a bachelor's degree in business and 
marketing. Despite devastating war wounds to his chest and arm, he 
successfully walked onto the university's baseball team where he earned 
a scholarship, along with All-SEC and All-American honors.
  Mr. Belcher has since founded HoldTime, an award winning national 
message-on-hold production company over 20 years ago. He remains vocal 
and active in the political life of his community, and has just been 
awarded the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Patriot Award.
  As a U.S. Congressman, I am forever grateful for Gerard Belcher's 
service to our country. Because of his bravery and that of his fellow 
men and women in uniform, our American freedoms are protected for 
future generations. He is truly a hero to us all.

                          ____________________




    

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