Thursday, February 24, 2011

Melvin Earl Newlin

I have been working on the Wellsville Haunted and Historical Tour for a few weeks now. One of the research materials I have been reading is the Find -A- Grave sight on the Internet.  I went through over 1600 names, looking for any bits of information I could use either for the city tour or the Spring Hill Cemetery Tour we have planned as well.   There are many stories I discovered by doing this, but none affected me as much as this one. 
Melvin Earl Newlin
was born Sep. 27, 1948.  A native of Wellsville, Ohio, he served as a Private First Class in the United States Marine Corps, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF during the Vietnam War. 
On the 3 and 4 of July 1967,  Pfc. Newlin, along with 4 other marines, found themselves manning a key position on the perimeter of the Nong Son outpost when the enemy launched a savage and well coordinated mortar and infantry attack.  His 4 comrades were killed and he was seriously wounded. Using his machine gun to help hold himself up, he poured a deadly accurate stream of fire into the charging ranks of the Viet Cong. Despite the fact that he was  repeatedly hit by small-arms fire, he twice repelled enemy attempts to overrun his position. Their third attempt included a grenade which exploded near him and knocked him to the ground unconscious. The Viet Cong believed him to be dead, and ran right past him to continue their assault on the main force. However,  Pfc. Newlin regained consciousness, crawled back to his weapon, and turned it on the rear of the enemy, halting their advancement. He then spotted the enemy attempting to use a captured 106 recoilless weapon on other marine positions, so he shifted his fire, killing many of the enemy and prevented them from using 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 2 more enemy assaults, he firmly held his ground until mortally wounded. Pfc. Newlin had single-handedly disorganized the entire enemy assault force, and delayed them long enough for his fellow marines to organize a defense and beat off their secondary attack. His indomitable courage and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death reflect great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps. On March 18, 1969, he was posthumously awarded his Medal Of Honor by President Richard  Nixon at the White House in Washington, D.C., with his family accepting. His citation reads-
"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." 
His full story can be found here on the Find-A-Grave web site:
I was moved beyond words about this amazing story.  It is worth a moment of your time.