Medal of Honor Recipient Melvin Morris Featured Speaker at Military Officers Association Luncheon

By  //  June 30, 2019

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was among first soldiers to don the “green beret” at the command of President John F. Kennedy

Retired U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Melvin Morris, right, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, shared with the Military Officers Association Cape Canaveral chapter members how this honor has impacted his life, and how he has leveraged the recognition to help benefit the community. (MOAACC image)

CAPE CANAVERAL • BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Retired U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Melvin Morris, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, shared with the Military Officers Association Cape Canaveral chapter members how this honor has impacted his life, and how he has leveraged the recognition to help benefit the community.

Morris was born and grew up in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. He entered the Oklahoma Army National Guard in 1959 and later requested to join the active Army.

He became one of the first soldiers to don the “Green Beret,” at the command of President John F. Kennedy, in Fort Bragg, N.C. in 1961.

Morris volunteered twice for deployments to Vietnam and received the Medal of Honor for his valorous actions on Sept. 17, 1969, while commanding the Third Company, Third Battalion of the IV Mobile Strike Force, near Chi Lang.

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He led an advance across enemy lines to retrieve a fallen comrade and single-handedly destroyed an enemy force that had pinned down his battalion from a series of bunkers.

Morris was shot three times as he ran back toward friendly lines with the American casualties but did not stop until he reached safety.

Initially, She was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in April 1970 for his extraordinary heroism during the 1969 battle.

Within a month after receiving the DSC, he returned to Vietnam for his second tour. Morris continued to serve for 15 more years, before retiring at Fort Hood, Texas in May 1985.

Left, MOAACC President Dan Smith, middle Mary Morris, right Melvin Morris. (MOAACC image)

In 2002, the Defense Authorization Act called for a review of veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, to ensure that no prejudice was shown to those deserving the Medal of Honor.

As a result, the DSC awarded to SFC Morris was upgraded to the Congressional Medal of Honor, which he received from President Obama on March 18, 2014.

Morris currently resides with his wife Mary in Cocoa, Florida, where he is actively involved in the Medal of Honor Foundation’s Community Development Program.

The purpose of this program is to work with teachers to promote an understanding among students of the American tradition of liberty, the country’s military history, and patriotic values.

Volunteers, using the Oral Histories of Medal of Honor Recipients, focus on how students can use these examples of courage, commitment, sacrifice, integrity, citizenship, and patriotism to influence change in their own communities.

Melvin Morris of Cocoa was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on March 18, 2014. He became one of the first soldiers to don the “Green Beret,” at the command of President John F. Kennedy, in Fort Bragg, N.C. in 1961. (U.S. Army image)

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