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Herbert A. Littleton
Herbert Littleton, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1930-07-01)July 1, 1930
Died April 22, 1951(1951-04-22) (aged 20)
Place of birth Mena, Arkansas
Place of death KIA in Chungehon, Korea
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1948-1951
Rank Private First Class
Unit 1st Battalion, 7th Marines
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Herbert A. Littleton (July 1, 1930 - April 22, 1951) was a United States Marine who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for falling on a grenade during the Korean War.


Littleton, known as "Hal" to his family, was born on July 1, 1930, in Mena, Arkansas. His family then lived in Black Hawk, South Dakota. He attended high school in Sturgis, South Dakota, where he played basketball and football. He was employed by Electrical Appliance Corporation, Rapid City, South Dakota, before enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve on July 29, 1948, for a one-year term. After his service, he moved to Nampa, Idaho, with his family in 1950 and worked as a lineman for Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph.[1]

After the outbreak of the Korean War, Littleton reenlisted in the Marine Corps.[1] Following recruit training in San Diego, California, he trained at Camp Pendleton and went to Korea with the 3rd Replacement Draft, fighting in South and Central Korean operations from December 17, 1950 until his death.

Littleton earned the nation's highest award for valor on April 22, 1951, at Chungehon, when he smothered an enemy grenade with his body.[2] Littleton was the 16th Marine to receive the Medal of Honor in Korea.

In December 2009, the post office in Nampa, Idaho, was renamed in his honor.[1]


In addition to the Medal of Honor, PFC Littleton was awarded the Purple Heart; Korean Service Medal with one bronze star; and the United Nations Service Medal.

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars
Purple Heart BAR.svg
Bronze star
United Nations Service Medal Korea.png
Medal of Honor
Purple Heart Korean Service Medal with one bronze star United Nations Service Medal

Medal of Honor citationEdit

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Radio Operator with an Artillery Forward Observation Team of Company C, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 22 April 1951. Standing watch when a well-concealed and numerically superior enemy force launched a violent night attack from nearby positions against his company, Private First Class Littleton quickly alerted the forward observation team and immediately moved into an advantageous position to assist in calling down artillery fire on the hostile force. When an enemy hand grenade was thrown into his vantage point shortly after the arrival of the remainder of the team, he unhesitatingly hurled himself on the deadly missile, absorbing its full, shattering impact in his own body. By his prompt action and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice, he saved the other members of his team from serious injury or death and enabled them to carry on the vital mission which culminated in the repulse of the hostile attack. His indomitable valor in the face of almost certain death reflects the highest credit upon Private First Class Littleton and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.[2]


See alsoEdit


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