Melvin Earl Newlin was born on September 27, 1948, in Wellsville, Ohio and graduated from Wellsville High School on June 6, 1966.
Newlin enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at Cleveland, Ohio, and was sent to Parris Island, South Carolina,
where he received recruit training.
Upon graduation in September 1966, he was sent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and underwent
infantry training with the 1st Infantry Training Regiment, then completed weapons special training as well.
In October 1966, he was assigned duty as a machine gunner with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division,
at Camp Lejeune North Carolina. PFC Newlin was assigned to the Republic of Vietnam in March 1967, where he joined the
2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He participated in numerous operations, including New Castle, Mountain Goat,
Union, and Calhoun.
While serving as a machine gunner with the 1st Platoon in Quang Nam Province, he was mortally wounded on July 4, 1967.
In addition to the medals shown above, PFC Newlin was awarded the Vietnam Military Merit Medal and Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm.
On 3 and 4 July, a platoon from Company F, located at the upper Nong Son position (AT 813383) came under heavy attack.
The sequence of events show that starting at approximately 10:30 p.m., Company F Commander reported that
the villagers from Tu Xuan and Ninh Hoa were evacuating their villages and that they were "terrified". The people reported 200
NVA near grid square AT7937, crawling toward Nong Son. Their reported missions was to attack the Marines at Nong Son or seal off
the heavily fortified Tu Xuan area. The Company F Commander requested artillery and fixed wing support to hit the enemy target.
Starting around 10:50 p.m., three hundred rounds of artillery began firing into grid AT7937 and another 300 into the village
of Tu Xuan (AT 7953). Another request for added support was submitted but never filled. Around 11:30 p.m., a Company F outpost
was overrun while the upper Nong Son position came under intense mortar fire, followed by a ground attack that included sappers,
riflemen, and a flame section. More artillery was called in on the attacking enemy. Company E was ordered in as reinforcements
for Company F and and the Civil Affairs Program (CAP) N-1 position near Ninh Binh.
Artillery fired in support of Company F included
75 rounds of 155mm Illumination; 25 rounds of High Explosive (HE) from 8" howitzers; and 255 rounds of HE from the 155mm howitzers
in the area.
By midnight, a squad from Company F reached the top of Nong Son hill making initial contact with the enemy. Several bunkers had
been overrun and the wire breached in several areas, but one squad had refused to be kicked off the hill. It included the
machine gun of PFC Newlin.
The citation for PFC Newlin reads:
The President of the United States in the name of the Congress of the United States takes pride in presenting
the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to
PRIVATE FIRST CLASS MELVIN E. NEWLIN
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following CITATION:
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 First Platoon, Company F, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division, in the
Republic of Vietnam on 3 and 4 July 1967. Private 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, Private 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. Private Newlin had single-handedly 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 United States Naval Service.
/s/ Richard M Nixon
Joining reinforcements with the tenacious squad that refused to leave the hill, the COmpany Commander quickly established advantageous
machine gun positions and commenced rolling the enemy back off the hill. As the enemy withdrew, 81mm mortars were remanned and
brought back into action. Company E arrived and assumed middle and lower defensive positions while the remaining elements of Company
F moved to the top of the hill to reconsolidate that position.
By 1:15 a.m., the enemy broke contact and withdrew from the hill. AC47 Spooky gunships and artillery provided continual illumination
until first light, while Marine casualties were med-evaced. As a result of the enemy attack, 10 Marines were killed, 3 US Army wounded
in action, 43 Marines WIA, and 39 Viet Cong KIA. Various pieces of enemy equipment were recovered after the attack as well.
While the battle raged on Nong Son hill, the An Hoa Combat Base came under intense mortar fire; an apparent enemy attempt to stop
all fire support to the embattled Company F. An excessive number of 81mm/82mm rounds fell into the camp. Mortar flashes were spotted
all over the camp. Counter mortar fires were fired while maintaining continual fire support to Company F, silencing the
enemy mortars. As a result of the attack on the base camp, 3 US Army artillerymen and 3 US Marine artillerymen at that
location were also killed in action.
Those Killed in action on the 3rd and 4th of July 1967 were:
- F Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division
- SGT Tony Ahinzow, Chicago, Illinois
- LCPL James Edward Ball, Newport News, Virginia
- PVT Andrew Currie, Brownsville, Texas
- LCPL Joseph Lonnie Hicks, Yardville, New Jersey
- LCPL Arthur Lanteigne, Detroit, Michigan
- CPL Francis George Monin, BUffalo, New York
- CPL Melvin Earl Newlin (MOH), BUffalo, New York
- H&S Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division
- Mortar Battery, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division
- 5th Platoon, G Battery, 29th Artillery, II Field Force, USARV
-- The Virtual Wall