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THIS WEEK IN ARKANSAS MILITARY HISTORY - Herbert Littleton


Herbert Littleton (1930–1951)


Photo curtesy of Military times

Herbert A. Littleton was an Arkansas native who earned the Medal of Honor during the Korean War. He was born in Mena (Polk County) on July 1, 1930, the youngest of three sons of the farming family of Paul N. Littleton and Lillie Maude Littleton. The family eventually moved to South Dakota, where he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps for a one-year term in July 1948. After his year of service, Littleton moved with his family to Nampa, Idaho.

When the Korean War broke out, Littleton reenlisted in the Marines, went to Korea with the 3rd Replacement Draft on December 17, 1950, to serve as a private first class in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, Company C, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division.


Photo curtesy of Honorstates.org

Littleton was part of a forward artillery observation team at Chungchon, Korea, on April 22, 1951, when an enemy force staged a night attack—at the same time, calling in an artillery strike on the attackers when an enemy soldier threw a hand grenade into their position. Littleton threw himself on the grenade, absorbing the blast with his body. His Medal of Honor citation states, “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,”  


In 2009, the U.S. Post Office in Nampa was named in Littleton’s honor. Memorials to Littleton are also located at the Polk County Courthouse in Mena and Spearfish, South Dakota. He is buried at Kohlerlawn Cemetery in Nampa.

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