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First Name: Baldomero

Last Name: Lopez

Birthplace: Tampa, FL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Date of Birth: 23 August 1925

Date of Death: 15 September 1950

Rank: First Lieutenant

Years Served: 1943 - 1944 (USN), 1947 - 1950 (USMC)
Baldomero Lopez

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Baldomero Lopez
First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

Baldomero Lopez was born on 23 August 1925, in Tampa, FL, and grew up in the neighborhood of Ybor City. His father, also named Baldomero Lopez, had immigrated to the United States from the Asturias region of Spain as a young man. The younger Lopez attended Hillsborough High School, where he was an accomplished basketball player and a regimental commander in the school's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program. He enlisted in the United States Navy on 8 July 1943, shortly after graduating from high school, and served until 11 June of the next year.

He was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in the midst of World War II, and because of the ongoing war he and his classmates were placed in an accelerated three-year program. Upon graduating on 6 June 1947, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He attended The Basic School at Quantico, VA, after which he became a platoon commander in the Platoon Leaders Class Training Regiment.

In 1948, 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, CA. 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.

In Korea, Lopez served as Platoon Commander of A Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced). On 15 September 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.

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."

Secretary of the Navy Dan A. Kimball presented the Medal of Honor to Lopez's parents during a ceremony in Washington, DC, on 30 August 1951.

Medal of Honor


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a marine platoon commander of Company A, in action against enemy aggressor forces. With his platoon 1st Lt. 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 1st Lt. Lopez and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Other Medals

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Lopez was awarded the Purple Heart.


Several structures have been named in Lopez's honor, including a state nursing home and a school in Seffner, FL.

A Korean War memorial at the Ed Radice Sports Complex in Tampa was opened on 11 November 2007, and dedicated to Lopez. The memorial features a rock from the beach at Incheon.

The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command named a container ship after him, the USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez (T-AK-3010).

In Bancroft Hall, the U.S. Naval Academy dormitory, a room is dedicated to him (Room No. 3021), with a display including his photo and a bronze plaque of his Medal of Honor citation. Lopez's Medal of Honor remains in the possession of his extended family.

Death and Burial

First Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez was killed in action on 15 September 1950. He is buried at the Centro Asturiano Memorial Park Cemetery in Tampa, FL.

Honoree ID: 1196   Created by: MHOH




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