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Remarks on Presenting the Medal of Honor Posthumously to Pfc. Melvin E. Newlin, USMC.

March 18, 1969

Ladies and gentlemen:

The purpose of this meeting this morning is for the award of the Medal of Honor posthumously to Mr. Newlin.

The Secretary of the Navy will read the citation.

[Secretary of the Navy John H. Ghafee read the citation, the text of which follows.]

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following


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.


[Following the reading of the citation, the President resumed speaking.]

Mrs. Newlin, there is very little I can add to that citation, but we do want you to know- that the people of this country are grateful for the sacrifice of your son.

They are also aware of the fact that this kind of remarkable courage never occurs as an accident. Only if a young man had a fine family, mother and father, would he have acted as he did.

Therefore, we present this for him. But we also present it to you because you, his mother and father, contributed so much to this fine young man in the background that you provided for him.

Note: The President spoke at 11 a.m. in his office at the White House at the presentation of the Medal of Honor to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph L. Newlin of Wellsville, Ohio, parents of Private Newlin.

At private ceremonies on four separate occasions later in 1969, President Nixon presented posthumous Medals of Honor to the families of the following servicemen:

M. Sgt. Charles E. Hosking, Jr., USA, and Sp4c. Don L. Michael, USA, on May 23, 1969 (5 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs., p. 732).

Sgt. Paul H. Foster, USMCR, Cpl. Larry E. Smedley, USMC, and Cpl. William T. Perkins, Jr., USMC, on June 20, 1969 (5 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs., p. 884).

Platoon Sgt. Bruce A. Grandstaff, USA, S. Sgt. Frankie Z. Molnar, USA, and Pfc. Leslie A. Bellrichard, USA, on July 10, 1969 (5 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs., p. 969).

Sp5c. Edgar L. McWethy, Jr., USA, Sp4c. Carmel B. Harvey, Jr., USA, and Sp4c. Dale E. Wayrynen, USA, on October 16, 1969 (5 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs., p. 1423).

Richard Nixon, Remarks on Presenting the Medal of Honor Posthumously to Pfc. Melvin E. Newlin, USMC. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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