Korean War hero 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez was born in Tampa, FL on August 23, 1925. In high school, Lopez was a regimental commander in the Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps. Upon graduation, he served in the US Navy from July of 1943 to June of 1944. Baldomero Lopez was selected to attend a three-year, fast-track program at the US Naval Academy. Upon graduation, he became a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
In the Korean War Gallery Inchon Landing Diorama at the Armed Forces History Museum, you can feel the heartbreak of the Lopez family as you read the letters they received from the US Marine Corps regarding their son’s death and listen to the oral history of his valiant sacrifice. The mixed emotions of deep sorrow, yet incredible pride must have gripped their hearts as they began to pick up the pieces following their son’s death. The AFHM would like to extend a sincere heartfelt thanks to the Lopez family for generously donating Lt. Lopez’ uniforms and other memorabilia.
When 2nd Lt. Lopez volunteered to serve as an infantry officer in Korea shortly after the start of the war, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. On September 15, 1950, Lopez and his troops took part in an amphibious landing during the Battle of Inchon. As Lopez led his men up over a seawall, he prepared to toss a grenade into a N. Korean bunker. However, he was hit in the chest with open fire, which caused him to drop the already activated grenade. Despite his injuries, 1st Lt. Lopez crawled over to the fallen grenade. Unable to throw it due to the injuries he sustained, Lopez shielded the grenade with his body to protect his surrounding troops from the blast. The grenade detonated and 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez was killed.
Medals, Awards and Citations
• Purple Heart
• Presidential Unit Citation w/one bronze star
• WWII Victory Medal
• China Service Medal
• National Defense Service Medal
• Korean Service Medal w/two bronze stars
• United Nations Service Medal
In January, 2006, a new US Navy Maritime Prepositioning ship - USNS 1st LT. Baldomero Lopez (T-AK-3010) - was named in Lopez’s Honor. A room in the Naval Academy’s Bancroft Hall dormitory is also named in his honor. The Korean War Memorial, located in his hometown of Tampa, FL, was also dedicated in his honor. While many heroes emerged from the Korean War, Tampa and its surrounding area are very proud of their Korean War Hero – 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez.