U.S. Marines, led by First Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez,
Korean War - Medal of Honor action
In Korea, Lopez served as Platoon Commander of A Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced). On September 15, 1950, he took part in the amphibious invasion of Incheon. After landing on the beach, he was captured in an iconic photograph leading his men over a seawall. Moments later, while preparing to throw a hand grenade into a North Korean bunker, he was struck by automatic weapon fire in the chest and right shoulder, causing him to drop the activated device. Although wounded, he crawled toward the grenade and, unable to throw it because of his injuries, pulled it under his body to shield others from the blast. He was killed in the resulting explosion and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Secretary of the Navy Dan A. Kimball presented the medal to Lopez’s parents during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on August 30, 1951.
News of his death spread quickly among fellow Marines on the battlefronts. A Scripps-Howard war correspondent, Jerry Thorp, said in a news story on Lopez’s deed that he “died with the courage that makes men great.”
Lopez was buried at the Centro Asturiano Memorial Park Cemetery in Tampa.