The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients
Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom
United States Marine Corps
First Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez
United States Marine Corps
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Rifle Platoon Commander of Company A, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces during the Inchon invasion in Korea on 15 September 1950. With his platoon, First Lieutenant Lopez was engaged in the reduction of immediate enemy beach defenses after landing with the assault waves. Exposing himself to hostile fire, he moved forward alongside a bunker and prepared to throw a hand grenade into the next pillbox whose fire was pinning down that sector of the beach. Taken under fire by an enemy automatic weapon and hit in the right shoulder and chest as he lifted his arm to throw, he fell backward and dropped the deadly missile. After a moment, he turned and dragged his body forward in an effort to retrieve the grenade and throw it. In critical condition from pain and loss of blood, and unable to grasp the hand grenade firmly enough to hurl it, he chose to sacrifice himself rather than endanger the lives of his men and, with a sweeping motion of his wounded right arm, cradled the grenade under him and absorbed the full impact of the explosion. His exceptional courage, fortitude and devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon First Lieutenant Lopez and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Harry S. Truman
President of the United States.
First Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez earned the Medal of Honor in Korea for sacrificing his life to protect his men.
First Lieutenant Lopez, 25, was posthumously awarded the Nation's top military decoration for smothering a hand grenade with his own body during the Inchon landing on 15 September 1950.
Secretary of the Navy Daniel A. Kimball presented the medal to his parents during ceremonies in Washington, D.C., on 30 August 1951.
Baldomero Lopez was born 23 August 1925, in Tampa, Florida, and went to high school in that city, where he starred as a basketball player. On 8 July 1943, he enlisted in the United States Navy, and served until 11 June 1944.
After his discharge, he was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy, and upon graduating 6 June 1947, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.
He took basic officer instructions at Quantico, Virginia, after which he became a platoon commander in the Platoon Leaders Class Training Regiment.
In 1948, 2dLt Lopez went to China, where he served as a mortar section commander and later as a rifle platoon commander at Tsingtao and Shanghai. On his return from China he was assigned to Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California.
He was serving there when, shortly after the outbreak of the Korean war, he volunteered for duty as an infantry officer in Korea. He was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant on 16 June 1950.
News of his heroic death spread quickly among fellow Marines on the battlefronts. On 25 September 1950, a Scripps-Howard war correspondent, Jerry Thorp, said in a news story on 1stLt Lopez's deed that he "died with the courage that makes men great."
In addition to the Medal of Honor, 1stLt Lopez's decorations include the Purple Heart Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze star, China Service Medal, and Korean Service Medal with two bronze stars.Return to Main Page