Sergeant First Class Melvin Morris was born in 1942 and raised in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. In 1959 Morris joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard, then joined the active-duty army. He was one of the first Army Green Berets in 1961. He twice volunteered for tours in Vietnam.
On 17 September 1969, while commanding a Strike Force drawn from Company D, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Morris learned a fellow commander had been killed near an enemy bunker. Determined not to leave any fellow soldiers behind, and knowing the enemy would mistreat the body, he immediately reorganized his men into a small assault element, then advanced across enemy lines with two others. As hostile forces concentrated their fire on Morris's element, the two men accompanying him were wounded. After assisting the two casualties back to his forces' lines, Morris charged into withering enemy fire with only his men's suppressive fire as cover. With enemy machine gun emplacements continuously directing strafing fusillades, he continued his assault and single-handedly destroyed four bunkers with two bags of hand grenades. Morris, shot three times during the engagement, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic action.
Among Morris' other decorations, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal with "V" Device and one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal with one Silver Loop, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Star. After serving 22 years of active duty, he retired in 1985 and now resides in Florida.