REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM
Melvin O. Handrich
Rank: Master Sergeant
Organization: U.S. Army, Company C, 5th Infantry Regiment.
Place and date: Near Sobuk San Mountain, Korea, Aug. 25-26, 1950.
Entered service at: Manawa, Wis.
Birth: 1919, Manawa, Wis.
G.O. No.: 60, Aug. 2, 1951.
Citation: Master Sergeant Melvin O. Handrich, Infantry, United States Army, a member of Company C, 5th Infantry Regiment, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action near Sobuk San Mountain, Korea on 25 and 26 August, 1950. His company was engaged in repulsing an estimated 150 enemy who were threatening to overrun its position. Near midnight 25 August, a hostile group over 100 strong attempted to infiltrate the company perimeter. Sergeant 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, Sergeant 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 Sergeant 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 Sergeant 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. Sergeant Handrich's sustained personal bravery, consummate courage, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect untold glory upon himself and the heroic traditions of the military service.