It's been nearly 70 years since Herbert A. Littleton died for his country, and the private first class's name can still be found adorning the Nampa Post Office in honor of his sacrifice.
Littleton was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman after diving on a grenade to protect other soldiers in his company during the Korean War.
Littleton lived in Nampa for about a year before he left to serve as a radio operator for Company C of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Corps during the Korean War — a conflict for which the POW/MIA accounting agency still lists 7,740 Americans as unaccounted for.
Originally from Arkansas, Littleton worked as a lineman for Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph. After moving to Nampa, he was called to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps and was just 20 years old when he died, April 22, 1951. According to reports, enemy forces surprised his unit in the night and Littleton hurled himself onto an enemy hand grenade, absorbing its full impact and saving the lives of his team.
The day after his death, an article in the Idaho Free Press described the war zone in several areas: “The Communists, with nearly 700,000 men facing the front, launched their attack Sunday night behind their heaviest artillery barrage of the war. Their assault ceased in daylight Monday, but was renewed with fresh vigor Monday night … Close censorship delayed news of the offensive 14 hours.
“United Nations troops pulled back as much as 12 miles under the impact of a major Red offensive which raged along 100 miles of the Korean front today,” the Idaho Free Press article reads. “The western front was strewn with bodies of thousands of Chinese cut down by artillery and air bombardment.
The Nampa Post Office was named after Littleton in 2009 and in 2013 the Canyon County Commissioners declared April 22 to be "Herbert A. Littleton Day" in Canyon County.
Littleton is buried in Kohlerlawn Cemetery at 76 6th St. in Nampa. According to the Idaho Military Museum, Littleton is one of 18 Medal of Honor recipients buried in the Gem State. The Idaho Military Museum's archive of Medal of Honor recipients ranges from four men who served in the American Civil War all the way up to the Vietnam War. There is also an ongoing effort by Idaho lawmakers to award Chris Tschida a Medal of Honor for service in Iraq.
Littleton is one of the more than 3,700 Idaho veterans to receive the Purple Heart, according to numbers provided by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
The Medal of Honor is the nation's most prestigious military decoration. The medal as it's currently known dates back to 1862 and, to date, 3,516 such honors have been bestowed, according to the National Medal of Honor Museum.