Marine Corps Veteran Baldomero López is today's Veteran of the day.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Baldomero López, a Korean War Medal of Honor recipient.

Baldomero López was born in August 1925 in Tampa, Florida, and grew up in Ybor City, just northeast of downtown Tampa. Named after his father, who immigrated to the U.S. from Spain, López attended Hillsborough High School, where he excelled in basketball. He also served as a regimental commander in the school’s Junior ROTC program. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Navy on July 8, 1943.

López earned a slot in an accelerated three-year program at the U.S. Naval Academy. He graduated on June 6, 1947, and became a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. After training at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, López became a platoon commander.

As a platoon commander, López traveled to China, where he served as a mortar section commander in Tsingtao and a rifle platoon commander in Shanghai. Afterward, he returned to the U.S. at Camp Pendleton, California. At the start of the Korean War, López volunteered to be an infantry officer.

During the Korean War, López served in the A Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division as a platoon commander. He promoted to first lieutenant on June 16, 1950. On Sept. 15, 1950, during the Battle of Inchon, López was preparing to throw a hand grenade into a North Korean bunker when enemy fire hit him in the chest and shoulder. López could not throw the grenade away. Without hesitation, he tucked the grenade beneath himself, sacrificing his life to protect his platoon from the explosion.

López received a Medal of Honor, which was bestowed to his parents on Aug. 30, 1951, by Secretary of the Navy Dan A. Kimball. He also received a Purple Heart, a Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze star, a World War II Victory Medal, a China Service Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, a Korean Service Medal with two bronze stars and a United Nations Service Medal.

Several structures bear his name, including a state nursing home, a school in Seffner, Florida, a public swimming pool in West Tampa, a U.S. Navy container ship and a state Veterans Memorial in Land O’Lakes, Florida. Room 3021 in Bancroft Hall, a U.S. Naval Academy dormitory, is dedicated to him. In the dormitory, López’s photo and a bronze plaque of his Medal of Honor citation are also on display. He continues to inspire current and future generations of Marines.

López is buried in the Centro Asturiano Memorial Park Cemetery in Tampa, Florida.

We honor his service.


Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.


Contributors

Writer: Adrienne Brookstein

Fact checker: Shiv Lamba and Alexys Santiago

Graphic artist: Mohogany Bridges

As a VA mental health professional, you’ll walk alongside Veterans on their journey to improve their mental health.VA mental health professionals work to prevent Veteran suicide
vet tix live eventsExperience live events through Vet Tix with friends and family

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

One Comment

  1. ROBERT SCHINAMAN October 15, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    SEMPER FI!, a truly outstanding MARINE. This retired, Purple Heart recon marine (1969 RVN) is fortunate to have served with a multitude of Hispanic Marines. In my experience they contributed above and beyond to the Honor of the Marine Corps and to the freedom of OUR great country. The recognition today is indeed fitting. I was also fortunate to have known many Native American Marines and have the highest respect for their service.

Comments are closed.

You Might Also Be Interested in These Articles