Brevard County man receives Congressional Medal of Honor

Melvin Morris' 44 year wait ends at White House

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

PORT ST. JOHN, Fla. - After 44 years, a Brevard County man received the nation's highest military honor on Tuesday -- the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Melvin Moore, 72, of Cocoa, traveled to the White House to receive the honor -- along with 23 others -- directly from President Obama as an Army staff sergeant in Vietnam in 1969.

"Some of these soldiers fought and died for a country that did not always see them as equal," the president said.

He's referring to what some might call a "dirty secret" -- soldiers passed up for the Medal of Honor because they were Jewish or, in Moore's case, African American.

After 10 years of investigating to see if anyone had been passed up, investigators found 24 service members that had fallen victim to anti-Semitism or racism in their consideration, including Morris.

Morris' special forces group came under attack in South Vietnam in 1969. His fellow commander was shot dead and two other troops in his platoon were wounded.

"I knew right away that they had to be medevac'd out and I had to recover my comrade's body," Morris told Local 6 before he left for Washington.

Morris was hit three times as he made his way toward an enemy bunker to retrieve the fallen soldier.

Now, 44 years later, the president praised his actions and those of 23 others.

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