Navy Cross : The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross Posthumously) to Private First Class James M. Branch (MCSN: 529099), United States Marine Corps Reserve, for extraordinary heroism as a member of Company C, First Battalion, Fourth Marines (Reinforced), First Provisional Marine Brigade, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Orote Peninsula, Guam, Marianas Islands, on 26 July 1944. With his squad pinned down by intense enemy automatic fire from a well-concealed pillbox while advancing across a clearing, Private First Class Branch, on his own flank and his squad leader on the other, attempted to close in on the Japanese emplacement but were forced by the fury of the barrage to take cover. Realizing the precarious position of his squad, Private First Class Branch unhesitatingly risked his life to stand upright and advance on the pillbox. Fiercely returning the enemy's persistent fire with his own automatic weapon while moving steadily forward, he killed two Japanese before sustaining a mortal wound himself. By his courageous initiative, Private First Class Branch saved the lives of other members of his squad and enabled them to flank and destroy the hostile emplacement. His valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the fulfillment of an extremely hazardous mission reflects the highest credit upon Private First Class Branch and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his Country.