Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Melvin

Last Name: Handrich

Birthplace: Manawa, WI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: O.

Date of Birth: 26 January 1919

Date of Death: 26 August 1950

Rank: Master Sergeant

Years Served: 1942-45; 1949-50
Melvin O. Handrich

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Melvin O. Handrich
Master Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

Melvin O. Handrich was born on 26 January 1919 in Manawa, WI. He was a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions on 25-26 August 1950, during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter.

A World War II veteran, Handrich entered the Army in 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.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Master Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 5th Infantry Regiment

Place and date: Near Sobuk San Mountain, Korea, 25-26 August 1950

G.O. No.: 60, 2 August 1951


M/Sgt. Handrich, Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. His 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. M/Sgt. 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 8 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, M/Sgt. 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 M/Sgt. 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 M/Sgt. 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. M/Sgt. Handrich's sustained personal bravery, consummate courage, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect untold glory upon himself and the heroic traditions of the military service.

The Medal of Honor was given to Handrich's father by General Omar N. Bradley at a Pentagon ceremony on 21 June 1951.

Other Medals & Awards

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Master Sergeant Handrich was also awarded:

Combat Infantryman Badge
Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters


On 4 August 1969, the 83rd Ordnance Battalion compound at Anyang-ni Korea was named Camp Handrich in his honor.

Death and Burial

Master Sergeant Handrich was killed in action on 26 August 1950. He is buried at Little Wolf Cemetery in Manawa, Waupaca County, WI.

Honoree ID: 1168   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image