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John Philip Baca

Date of birth: January 10, 1949
Date of death: Still Living
Place of Birth: Rhode Island, Providence
Home of record: Fort Ord California


Medal of Honor

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Specialist Fourth Class John Philip Baca, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 10 February 1970, in Quan Loi Province, Republic of Vietnam. Specialist Fourth Class Baca, Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, 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, Specialist Fourth Class 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, Specialist Fourth Class 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 eight men from certain serious injury or death. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by Specialist Fourth Class 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 United States Army.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 37 (July 16, 1971)

Action Date: February 10, 1970

Service: Army

Rank: Specialist Fourth Class

Company: Company D

Battalion: 1st Battalion

Regiment: 12th Cavalry Regiment

Division: 1st Cavalry Division