FRANK T LOPINTO - LCPL
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- October 01, 1947
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- July 02, 1967
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Frank T. Lopinto was born on October 1, 1947, to Eugene and Madeline Lopinto. His home of record is Lyndhurst, NJ. He had a sister, Marilyn. He graduated from Lyndhurst High School in 1965. In high school, he played on the football and baseball teams. In 1965, he was chosen for The Record's all-county team and played in the national championship for the local American Legion team. He loved most sports and particularly loved to hunt. After high school, he attended a technical school to learn how to become a sheet metal apprentice.
Lopinto entered the US Marine Corps on September 14, 1966. He served with Company B, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. He attained the rank of Lance Corporal (LCPL). He was sent to Vietnam in February 1967.
Lopinto was killed in action on July 2, 1967, during a major battle near Con Thien. The Marines succeeded in stopping a 2,500 man North Vietnamese force near the DMZ. In this battle, 51 Americans, including Lopinto, were killed. He was buried in Hillside Cemetery in Lyndhurst, NJ.
Lopinto received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, the National Defense Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Service Medal.
Lopinto's Silver Star Medal citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Rifleman with Company B, First Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Vietnam. On 27 April 1967, during a fierce battle for Hill 861 near Khe Sanh, Lance Corporal Lopinto's platoon sustained heavy casualties and was directed to withdraw from its besieged firebase at the foot of the hill to a more tenable position. With complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Lopinto repeatedly exposed himself to intense enemy small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire to rescue his wounded comrades and recover the bodies of fallen Marines. Placing himself at the end of a human chain reaching far into the gulley, he boldly entered the hostile fire zone time after time and moved the dead and wounded out of the fire-swept area to positions from which they could be relayed from man to man over the crest of the hill to a relatively secure area. As the fog surrounding the top of the hill cleared, the enemy fire increased in volume and accuracy making each rescue attempt more difficult and dangerous. Nevertheless, Lance Corporal Lopinto continued his valiant efforts until all the casualties had been evacuated. His resolute determination and selfless concern for his comrades inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in saving the lives of a number of Marines and enabling his platoon to gain a more advantageous position and complete its mission. By his initiative, exceptional courage, and unwavering devotion to duty at great personal risk, Lance Corporal Lopinto upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
Lopinto's Bronze Star Medal citation reads:
For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam while serving as a Rifleman with Company B, First Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division. On 24 April 1967, Lance Corporal Lopinto led a squad into extremely hostile territory to recover the bodies of several Marines who had been killed by enemy fire while attempting to establish an observation post on the crest of Hill 861 near Khe Sanh. Although the squad reached the site, he and his men were unable to remove the casualties because of short range rifle and automatic weapons fire directed against them by entrenched enemy soldiers and were directed to return to friendly lines until the hostile positions were neutralized by supporting arms fires. As another squad was preparing to undertake the rescue, Lance Corporal Lopinto unhesitatingly volunteered to lead the mission again as he knew the exact location of the fallen Marines and could therefore expedite the recovery. Carefully maneuvering across the dangerous terrain, he located two Marine casualties and prepared them for evacuation. While his companions were evacuating the two dead Marines, Lance Corporal Lopinto disregarded his own safety as he boldly moved into the thick underbrush, known to conceal enemy positions, and conducted a thorough search to ensure that there were no other Marine casualties in the area. His courage and composure in the face of the enemy inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in accomplishing the difficult mission. Lance Corporal Lopinto's heroic actions, aggressive leadership, and unwavering devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
Sources: Marilyn Faziola (sister), Roger Liggon (veteran), newspaper clippings and NJVVMF.
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