WASHINGTON - Okmulgee native Melvin Morris is one of 24 veterans who will receive the Medal of Honor next month.

Morris and the other minority service men are recognized as deserving the medal but were passed over because of possible racism.

Now 72 years old, Melvin was commanding a strike force during the Vietnam War when his Special Forces group came under attack.

His fellow commander was killed, but despite heavy fire and being shot three times, Morris was able to recover his fallen comrade and a strategic map that could have proven devastating if it fell into enemy hands.

Melvin is just one of three recipients still alive to receive the honor.

He will be awarded his medal on March 18.