Melvin Oscar Handrich MOH

b. 26/01/1919 Manawa, Wisconsin. d. 26/08/1950 Sobuk San Mountain, Korea.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 26/08/1950 Sobuk San Mountain, Korea.

Melvin O Handrich MOH

Handrich first entered the Army in August 1942. He was a member of 1st Company, 2d Regiment (1-2), First Special Service Force (FSSF) (“The Devil’s Brigade”) and later Company I, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division. He participated in the recapture of Kiska (August 15, 1943), part of the Aleutian Islands Campaign, and saw action in Italy, France, Belgium, and Germany.

Wounded three times, he received the Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters. Other World War II awards included the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze campaign star, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with arrowhead device and one silver and one bronze campaign star. He was discharged from the Army in September 1945.

He re-enlisted in January 1949 and was sent to the Far East command in March 1949. The Medal of Honor was presented to Handrich’s father by General of the Army Omar N. Bradley at a Pentagon ceremony on June 21, 1951.



M/Sgt. Handrich, Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. His 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. M/Sgt. 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, M/Sgt. 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 M/Sgt. 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 M/Sgt. 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. M/Sgt. Handrich’s sustained personal bravery, consummate courage, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect untold glory upon himself and the heroic traditions of the military service.



LOT 141, SPACE 8.