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Tampa honors city’s first Medal of Honor recipient to mark National Hispanic Heritage Month

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – City leaders marked the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring a Tampa hero who sacrificed himself to save others.

Exactly 70 years ago Tuesday, Lt. Baldomero Lopez died smothering a hand grenade with his own body during the Korean War.

Lt. Lopez was a Marine platoon commander of Company A, and took part in the Ichon Landing, an amphibious invasion and battle of the Korean War, which the U.S. won.

According to reports, Lopez was struck by fire as he attempted to throw a hand grenade. After dropping the device, he crawled toward the grenade and smothered it with his body, shielding his own men.

The following year, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

On Friday, Mayor Jane Castor, Councilman Luis Viera and Judge E.J. Salcines held a ceremony to honor his life and sacrifice.

You can watch the event in the video player above.

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