Mar 7, 2015

Heroes: Melvin O. Handrich

MSG Melvin O. Handrich
Melvin Oscar Handrich is spotlighted as one of the American heroes who was awarded the Medal of Honor during the Korean War. [January 26th 1919 to August 26th 1950]
He posthumously received the award for his actions on August 25th and 26th of 1950 during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter. He is buried at Little Wolf Cemetery in Manawa, Waupaca County, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Historical Society erected an historical marker [#485] in his honor in 2003 at 44° 27.716' N, 88° 55.239' W [See Google Map] in Waupaca County in a small park on southbound Depot Street, south of the intersection with South Bridge Street, Manawa, Wisconsin 54989.
On August 4th, 1969, the 83rd Ordnance Battalion Compound at Anyang-ni was named Camp Handrich in his honor.

The Medal of Honor Citation reads:
General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 60 (August 2, 1951)
Action Date: August 25 & 26, 1950
Service: Army
Rank: Master Sergeant
Company: Company C
Regiment: 5th Infantry Regimental Combat Team
Division: 1st Cavalry Division
US Army Medal of Honor
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Master Sergeant Melvin Oscar Handrich (ASN: 36258213), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company C, 5th Infantry Regimental Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Sobuk San Mountain, Korea, on 25 and 16 August 1950. Master Sergeant Handrich's company was engaged in repulsing an estimated 150 enemy who were threatening to overrun its position. Near midnight on 25 August, a hostile group over 100 strong attempted to infiltrate the company perimeter. Master Sergeant Handrich, despite the heavy enemy fire, voluntarily left the comparative safety of the defensive area and moved to a forward position where he could direct mortar and artillery fire upon the advancing enemy. He remained at this post for eight hours directing fire against the enemy who often approached to within 50 feet of his position. Again, on the morning of 26 August, another strong hostile force made an attempt to overrun the company's position. With complete disregard for his safety, Master Sergeant Handrich rose to his feet and from this exposed position fired his rifle and directed mortar and artillery fire on the attackers. At the peak of this action he observed elements of his company preparing to withdraw. He perilously made his way across fire-swept terrain to the defense area where, by example and forceful leadership, he reorganized the men to continue the fight. During the action Master Sergeant Handrich was severely wounded. Refusing to take cover or be evacuated, he returned to his forward position and continued to direct the company's fire. Later a determined enemy attack overran Master Sergeant Handrich's position and he was mortally wounded. When the position was retaken, over 70 enemy dead were counted in the area he had so intrepidly defended. Master Sergeant Handrich's sustained personal bravery, consummate courage, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect untold glory upon himself and the heroic traditions of the military service.

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