Melvin Earl Newlin MOH

b. 27/09/1948 Wellsville, Ohio. d. 04/07/1967 Quang Nam Province, Vietnam.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 04/07/1967 Quang Nam Province, Vietnam.

Melvin E Newlin MOH

Newlin was born Sept. 27, 1948, in Wellsville, Ohio, a small town about an hour west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Newlin’s parents, Joseph and Ruth, had seven other children and struggled to support them all. As a result, Melvin spent much of his childhood in foster care. By his senior year of high school, Newlin had briefly reunited with his parents. According to his brother Joe, that ended after a bout of apparent domestic violence. So, the teenaged Newlin moved in with Joe and his wife.

Newlin graduated from Wellsville High School in 1966 — the only one of the siblings to get a diploma. About a month later, at the age of 17, Newlin enlisted in the Marine Corps. He became a machine gunner with Company F of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

In November 1966, Newlin was sent to Vietnam. According to a 1969 edition of the Ohio newspaper The Evening Review, he had been wounded a few times in various battles before his Medal of Honor-earning actions. He was also given the opportunity to take a desk job but refused, the paper said.

On the night of July 3, 1967, Newlin’s unit was at an outpost at Nong Son Mountain, southwest of Da Nang, when about 400 Northern Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong fighters launched a savage and well-coordinated attack. Newlin and four other members of his platoon were manning a key position on the outpost’s perimeter. Quickly, all four of his comrades were killed.

Newlin himself was seriously injured, but he kept fighting. Propping himself against his machine gun, the 18-year-old blasted the enemy charging at him with a deadly stream of fire. Newlin was repeatedly hit by small-arms fire, but his efforts repelled the enemy’s attempts to overrun his position twice.

During a third attempt, a grenade explosion knocked Newlin unconscious. The Viet Cong guerrillas assumed he was dead, so they charged past him and continued their assault on the main force behind Newlin’s platoon. When Newlin regained consciousness, he crawled back to his machine gun and sprayed fire into the backs of the enemy soldiers, who were thrown off by the unexpected attack. Newlin then noticed more enemy soldiers trying to use a recoilless weapon they’d captured from the Americans, so he shifted his fire onto those men, inflicting heavy casualties and keeping them from firing the captured weapon.

Newlin shifted his focus back to the main enemy force. They were keenly aware of him now, so the enemy soldiers stopped their assault on the Marines’ bunkers and turned their fire toward him. Newlin fought off two more assaults before enemy fire finally killed him in the early hours of July 4, 1967.  Newlin’s efforts singlehandedly threw the enemy’s assault into chaos, causing them to lose their momentum. The slowdown was long enough for more Marines to organize a defense and beat off the secondary attack.

For his selfless courage and unwavering devotion to duty, Newlin posthumously earned the Medal of Honor. President Richard M. Nixon presented the medal to his parents during a White House ceremony on March 18, 1969. Newlin’s remains were returned to the U.S. and interred in Spring Hill Cemetery in his hometown. His medal was eventually donated to the Museum of the Soldier in La Porte, Indiana.



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a machine gunner attached to the 1st Platoon, Company F, 2d Battalion, on 3 and 4 July 1967. Pfc. Newlin, with four other marines, was manning a key position on the perimeter of the Nong Son outpost when the enemy launched a savage and well-coordinated mortar and infantry assault, seriously wounding him and killing his four comrades. Propping himself against his machine gun, he poured a deadly accurate stream of fire into the charging ranks of the Viet Cong. Though repeatedly hit by small-arms fire, he twice repelled enemy attempts to overrun his position. During the third attempt, a grenade explosion wounded him again and knocked him to the ground, unconscious. The Viet Cong guerrillas, believing him dead, bypassed him and continued their assault on the main force. Meanwhile, Pfc. Newlin regained consciousness, crawled back to his weapon, and brought it to bear on the rear of the enemy causing havoc and confusion among them. Spotting the enemy attempting to bring a captured 106 recoilless weapon to bear on other marine positions, he shifted his fire, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy and preventing them from firing the captured weapon. He then shifted his fire back to the primary enemy force, causing the enemy to stop their assault on the marine bunkers and to once again attack his machine-gun position. Valiantly fighting off two more enemy assaults, he firmly held his ground until mortally wounded. Pfc. Newlin had singlehandedly broken up and disorganized the entire enemy assault force, causing them to lose momentum and delaying them long enough for his fellow marines to organize a defense and beat off their secondary attack. His indomitable courage, fortitude, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.