Logistics Warrior Perspective
Operation CHROMITE – Incheon
First Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez, USMC, leads the 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines over the seawall on the northern side of Red Beach, as the second assault wave lands, 15 September 1950, during the Inchon invasion. Wooden scaling ladders are in use to facilitate disembarkation from the LCVP that brought these men to the shore. Lt. Lopez was killed in action within a few minutes, while assaulting a North Korean bunker. Note M-1 Carbine carried by Lt. Lopez, M-1 Rifles of other Marines and details of the Marines’ field gear. Photo number NH 96876
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Marine platoon commander of Company A, in action against enemy aggressor forces. With his platoon 1st Lt. Lopez was engaged in the reduction of immediate enemy beach defenses after landing with the assault waves. Exposing himself to hostile fire, he moved forward alongside a bunker and prepared to throw a hand grenade into the next pillbox whose fire was pinning down that sector of the beach. Taken under fire by an enemy automatic weapon and hit in the right shoulder and chest as he lifted his arm to throw, he fell backward and dropped the deadly missile. After a moment, he turned and dragged his body forward in an effort to retrieve the grenade and throw it. In critical condition from pain and loss of blood, and unable to grasp the hand grenade firmly enough to hurl it, he chose to sacrifice himself rather than endanger the lives of his men and, with a sweeping motion of his wounded right arm, cradled the grenade under him and absorbed the full impact of the explosion. His exceptional courage, fortitude, and devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon 1st Lt. Lopez and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Medal of Honor Citation—
The Medal of Honor was presented to First Lieutenant Lopez’s parents on 30 August 1951
Maybe not as iconic as the second flag raising on Iwo Jima, this photograph of First Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez leading his platoon over the sea wall during the Incheon invasion depicts the essence of leadership—FOLLOW ME!
Though almost 70 years since MacArthur’s counterstroke, Operation CHROMITE is a reminder that you must be prepared with the forces you possess on-hand.
Both the Joint Forces Quarterly article and Colonel Heinl’s 1967 address to the Naval War College reiterate this theme. LCDR Sheehan’s Naval War College paper discusses logistics at the operational level.
Are you ready for the next Incheon?
Until Next Month…
Col (ret) Jeff Decker