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Growing up in a small town during a time when the economy wasn’t great, Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris learned pretty quick that he needed to work hard to find new opportunities. As a young man he joined the National Guard then later he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he trained to become a Green Beret. In the Army, he learned the importance of teamwork, how to help each other, and working for the same purpose. It was his strong belief in doing the right thing and helping others that led to the moment that earned him a special place in history. On September 17, 1969, while serving as a Commander of a Strike Force in the Vietnam War, Staff Sergeant Morris learned a fellow team commander had been killed near an enemy bunker. Staff Sergeant Morris decided to retrieve the body of the fallen commander because it was the right thing to do. He organized and led an effective assault. During the assault, he and two others broke off from the main group to make a move toward the bunker where the fallen commander lay. The two men he was with were injured and he had to assist them back to their forces’ line. Determined to finish his mission, he chose to go back by himself. He recovered the body of the fallen soldier, he then returned into the withering gunfire and retrieved a map case containing classified material when he was shot three times. He managed to destroy four bunkers and was injured four times in the process, but he made it back to a friendly position with his fallen comrade and map case. Though Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris never expected it, his extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty earned him the Medal of Honor and the respect of his fellow soldiers and fellow Americans.

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