b. 28/08/1930 Colorado. d. 25/11/1950 Kangdong, Korea.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 25/11/1950 Kangdong, Korea.
Baldonado was born in Colorado on Aug. 28, 1930, joining the U.S. Army as a light weapons infantryman (parachutist) during the Korean War. In that conflict, Baldonado was killed in an action for which he was to posthumously receive the Medal of Honor. The family of Baldonado included his wife Theresa Baldonado, his brother Richard Baldonado, and his two daughters Lupe Baldonado and Josephine Baldonado.
The award came through the Defense Authorization Act which called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to ensure that no prejudice was shown to those deserving the Medal of Honor. His brother Charles accepted the Medal of Honor from President Obama on March 18th 2014 at the White House in Washington DC.
Corporal Joe R. Baldonado distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an acting machinegunner in 3d Squad, 2d Platoon, Company B, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment during combat operations against an armed enemy in Kangdong, Korea on November 25, 1950. On that morning, the enemy launched a strong attack in an effort to seize the hill occupied by Corporal Baldonado and his company. The platoon had expended most of its ammunition in repelling the enemy attack and the platoon leader decided to commit his 3d Squad, with its supply of ammunition, in the defensive action. Since there was no time to dig in because of the proximity of the enemy, who had advanced to within twenty-five yards of the platoon position, Corporal Baldonado emplaced his weapon in an exposed position and delivered a withering stream of fire on the advancing enemy, causing them to fall back in disorder. The enemy then concentrated all their fire on Corporal Baldonado’s gun and attempted to knock it out by rushing the position in small groups and hurling hand grenades. Several times, grenades exploded extremely close to Corporal Baldonado but failed to interrupt his continuous firing. The hostile troops made repeated attempts to storm his position and were driven back each time with appalling casualties. The enemy finally withdrew after making a final assault on Corporal Baldonado’s position during which a grenade landed near his gun, killing him instantly.
BURIAL LOCATION: BODY NOT RECOVERED. HAS MARKER IN ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA.
(IMO, Section 13-MH, Grave 644)