It would be an interesting study of how many Medal of Honor recipients earned their medal by jumping on a hand grenade. It has to be one of the most harrowing ways to die–and for the survivors a brutal memory. This week’s hero John P. Bace, while serving in Vietnam in 1970, saw a grenade, immediate cupped it with his helmet and then threw his own body on top of the helmet–saving his fellow soliders.
Amazingly, Bace survived the blast and is still active in community and veteran affairs in Julian, California, near San Diego. Now, the owner of the Apple Alley Bakery, he sends pies to wounded warriors and families of our fallen. Not a bad guy.
Make the most of your day!
John P. Baca
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. 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, Sp4c. 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, Sp4c. 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 Sp4c. 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.