|Corporal Joe R. Baldonado|
Corporal Joe R. Baldonado will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as an acting machine gunner in 3d Squad, 2d Platoon, Company B, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment during combat operations against an armed enemy in Kangdong, Korea on November 25, 1950.
Baldonado’s acts of bravery were briefly described in a book, “Disaster in Korea: The Chinese Confront MacArthur.”
addition to the Medal of Honor, Baldonado received the Distinguished
Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service
Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, United Nations Service Medal, Republic
of Korea-Korean War Service Medal.
Baldonado, a 20-year-old Colorado native, was serving with Company B, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment, on Nov. 25, 1950, at Hill 171 in the vicinity of Kangdong. At approximately 4 a.m., 2nd Platoon was occupying positions on Hill 171 when the enemy tried to launch a strong attack to occupy the hill. By 6 a.m., the platoon had expended most of its ammo, and the platoon leader decided to commit his third squad.
Since there was not time to dig in, Baldonado, a machine-gunner of the third squad, placed his weapon in an exposed position and delivered a withering stream of fire on the advancing enemy, causing them to fall back.
The enemy then concentrated all their fire on Baldonado’s gun, and attempted to knock it out by rushing the position in small groups and hurling grenades. Several times grenades exploded extremely close to Baldonado, but failed to interrupt him. The enemy finally withdrew at 7 a.m., after making a final assault on Baldonado’s position, during which a grenade landed near his gun, killing him instantly. Baldonado’s remains still have not been found.