BY DUANE A. VACHON, PHD. Melvin Earl Newlin was born on September 27, 1948, in Wellsville, Ohio. He graduated from Wellsville High School on June 6, 1966.
Almost immediately after graduating, on July 18, 1966, Newlin enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at Cleveland, Ohio, and was ordered to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. It was at Paris Island that he received recruit training with the 1st Recruit Training Battalion. When Newlin completed his basic training in September 1966, he was transferred to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and underwent infantry training with the 2nd Infantry Training Battalion, 1st Infantry Training Regiment. He went on to complete special weapons training.
In March 1967 at the height of the buildup of troops in Vietnam, Newlin was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam where he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, and participated in numerous operations, including Operations 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.
MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION
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
Awards and decorations His medals and decorations include:
- Vietnam Gallantry Cross (with Palm)
Newlin is buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery, Wellsville Ohio, Section 18, Lot 47.