William Bernard Baugh was born on July 7, 1930, in McKinney, Kentucky. He grew up in Harrison, Ohio, and worked in a shoe factory until he was seventeen. That year, in 1948, Baugh enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He trained at both Parris Island, South Carolina, and Camp Lejune, North Carolina. Following training, he participated in the Inchon Landing and Chosin Reservoir campaigns of the Korean War. Baugh was only twenty years old when he lost his life to a grenade that landed in his squad’s vehicle. He immediately covered the explosive with his body to absorb the damage of the grenade. Baugh’s quick reaction and selfless choice saved his fellow Marines from harm. Because of his heroic deed on November 29, 1950, Baugh was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor-- the highest military award given for service during a conflict. He was the 15th United States soldier to receive the honor in the Korean War. Eight other Kentuckians also earned the Medal of Honor for service in Korea.
Baugh’s Medal of Honor citation reads: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a member of an Anti-Tank Assault Squad attached to Company G, Third Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), during a nighttime enemy attack against a motorized column en route from Koto-Ri to Hagaru-Ri, Korea, on November 29, 1950. Acting instantly when a hostile grenade landed in his truck as he and his squad prepared to alight and assist in the repulse of an enemy force delivering intense automatic-weapons and grenade fire from deeply entrenched and well-concealed roadside positions, Private First Class Baugh quickly shouted a warning to the other men in the vehicle and, unmindful of his own personal safety, hurled himself upon the deadly missile, thereby saving his comrades from serious injury or possible death. Sustaining severe wounds from which he died a short time afterward, Private First Class Baugh, by his superb courage and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice, upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”
Baugh was originally buried in Korea, but his remains were reinterred to the Glen Haven Cemetery in Harrison, Ohio, after the war.
Marker 2013 was dedicated in 1998 by the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Department of Highways. It reads: PFC William Baugh, USMC. This Congressional Medal of Honor recipient born near here July 7, 1930. Baugh served with Co. G, 3rd Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Div. (Reinforced). Awarded honor posthumously for gallantry at risk of his life to spare others serious injury en route from Koto-ri to Hagaru-ri, Korea. Presented by Ky. Marine Corps League, Ky. Chap. of First Marine Div. Assoc., and Ky. Council of Navy League.
(Reverse) Medal of Honor Winner. Baugh was serving as a member of an Anti-Tank Assault Squad during a nighttime enemy attack on a motorized column, when a hostile grenade landed in his truck. He shouted a warning to other Marines in the vehicle and hurled himself upon the deadly missile, saving his comrades from injury or death. Gave supreme sacrifice Nov. 29, 1950. Presented by Ky. Marine Corps League, Ky. Chap. of First Marine Div. Assoc., and Ky. Council of Navy League.