Open main menu

Melvin O. Handrich (January 26, 1919 – August 26, 1950) was a soldier in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions on August 25 and 26, 1950, during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter. He is buried at Little Wolf Cemetery in Manawa, Waupaca County, Wisconsin.

Melvin Oscar Handrich
Melvin O Handrich.jpg
Medal of Honor recipient Melvin Handrich
Born(1919-01-26)January 26, 1919
Manawa, Wisconsin
DiedAugust 26, 1950(1950-08-26) (aged 31)
Near Sŏbuk-san Mountain (Hill 738 west of Masan), South Korea
Place of burial
Little Wolf Cemetery in Manawa, Wisconsin
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1942–45; 1949–50
RankMaster Sergeant
UnitCompany C, 5th Infantry Regiment
Battles/warsWorld War II
Korean War  
AwardsMedal of Honor
Purple Heart

A World War II veteran, Handrich entered the Army in August 1942 and took part in the Aleutian Islands Campaign, participating in the recapture of Kiska. Then, after parachute training, he went to Europe and saw action in Italy, France, Belgium, and Germany, receiving the Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters and the Combat Infantryman Badge. 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 was given to Handrich's father by General Omar N. Bradley at a Pentagon ceremony on June 21, 1951.[1]

On August 4, 1969, the 83d Ordnance Battalion compound at Anyang-ni was named Camp Handrich in his honor.[2]

Medal of Honor citationEdit

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 60 (August 2, 1951)
Action Date: August 25 & 26, 1950
Service: Army
Rank: Master Sergeant
Company: Company C
Regiment: 5th Infantry Regimental Combat Team
Division: 1st Cavalry Division


The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Master Sergeant Melvin Oscar Handrich (ASN: 36258213), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company C, 5th Infantry Regimental Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Sobuk San Mountain, Korea, on 25 and 26 August 1950. Master Sergeant Handrich's 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. Master 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, Master 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 Master 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 Master 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. Master 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. [3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Badger, Killed in Korea, Gets Medal of Honor," Capital Times, Madison, Wisconsin, Monday, June 6, 1951; "Award Medal of Honor to Wisconsin Sergeant," Sheboygan Press, Monday, June 18, 1951; "Wisconsin Soldier Awarded Nation's Medal of Honor for Heroic Death," Wisconsin State Journal, Monday, June 18, 1951.
  2. ^ Memorandum, HQ, Eighth Army, Semi-Annual Chronology (July–December 1969).
  3. ^ "Valor awards for Melvin Oscar Handrich". Medal of Honor recipients: Korean War. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.