Medal of Honor Citation

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.

Korean War Medal of Honor

Marine Corps University