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President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor next month to 24 soldiers whose heroism was overlooked because of their backgrounds, the Army said Friday.
The March 18 ceremony will bestow the nation's highest military honor on 24 soldiers — most of them Latino or Jewish — who received the Distinguished Service Cross. They were identified during a congressionally mandated review of overlooked heroes for possible upgrade to the Medal of Honor.
Three of the recipients are still alive:
- Spc. 4 Santiago J. Erevia of San Antonio, Texas, for courage near Tam Ky, South Vietnam, in 1969.
- Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris of Cocoa, Fla., for courageous actions near Chi Lang, South Vietnam, in 1969.
- Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela of San Antonio for courage in Phuoc Long province, South Vietnam, in 1969.
Of the 21 soldiers receiving their awards posthumously, five fought in Vietnam War, nine in Korea and seven in World War II.
The soldiers, known collectively as the Valor 24, are remembered in an extensive section of the Army's website.
— M. Alex Johnson