SP4 John P. Baca
Medal of Honor Citation
Rank and organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division
Place and date: Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam, 10 February 1970
Entered service at: Fort Ord, California
Born: 10 January 1949, Providence, Rhode Island
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. SPC4 Baca, Company D, distinguished himself while serving on a recoilless rifle team during a night ambush mission A platoon from his company was sent to investigate the detonation of an automatic ambush device forward of his unit’s main position and soon came under intense enemy fire from concealed positions along the trail. Hearing the heavy firing from the platoon position and realizing that his recoilless rifle team could assist the members of the besieged patrol, SPC4 Baca led his team through the hail of enemy fire to a firing position within the patrol’s defensive perimeter. As they prepared to engage the enemy, a fragmentation grenade was thrown into the midst of the patrol. Fully aware of the danger to his comrades, SPC4 Baca unhesitatingly, and with complete disregard for his own safety, covered the grenade with his steel helmet and fell on it as the grenade exploded, thereby absorbing the lethal fragments and concussion with his body. His gallant action and total disregard for his personal well-being directly saved 8 men from certain serious injury or death. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by SPC4 Baca, at the risk of his life, are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
President Richard M. Nixon presented the Medal of Honor to SP4 Baca at a White House ceremony conducted on 15 June 1971.
The Medal of Honor
Description: A gold five pointed star, each point tipped with trefoils, 1½ inches wide, surrounded by a green laurel wreath and suspended from a gold bar inscribed “VALOR”, surmounted by an eagle. In the center of the star, Minerva’s head surrounded by the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” On each ray of the star is a green oak leaf. On the reverse is a bar engraved “THE CONGRESS TO” with a space for engraving the name of the recipient.
Congressional Medal of Honor Society web page: https://www.cmohs.org/
History of the Medal of Honor: https://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/history.html
Medal of Honor – The History (A Vimeo Video Documentary Rivr Digital): https://vimeo.com/100896594