Vietnam Vet Receives Medal of Honor Forty Years After Service
March 18, 2014 | WMFE, Orlando - A Port St. John man who fought as a Green Beret in Vietnam will be presented the Medal of Honor by President Obama Tuesday.
Melvin Morris, who is African American, is one of 24 Army Veterans chosen to receive the award after a 12 year Pentagon inquiry into potential recipients who would have been passed over because of their race.
Morris, who is African American, says he wasn’t aware of the decades of discrimination but he is pleased the Army is looking for Medal of Honor recipients who may have been discriminated against.
“I’m happy to see the change, and I hope they continue with the change because there are many more deserving and there are probably more deserving out there than I. And without people looking over records, they’ll never find them,” he says.
President Obama called Morris at his home last year.
“And then he said I want to apologize to you for not receiving the Medal of Honor 44 years ago. You are deserving of it and I’m going to present you the Medal of Honor at the White House. He knew I was kind of rattled so he said ‘Be cool, be cool,’ and I got myself together.”
During an attack on Morris’ Special Forces unit in Vietnam, a fellow commander was killed.
Morris recovered the commander’s body and a map that included important strategic information.
He was shot three times during the incident-- including wounds to the arm and chest.
The 23 other service men chosen for the Medal of Honor are mostly of Hispanic and Jewish descent. Morris is one of three still living.