71 years later, Korean War vet from Corona finally awarded his Bronze Star Medal

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Sunday, May 5, 2024
71 years later, Korean War vet finally gets his Bronze Star Medal
The 93-year-old, who fought in five major battles during the Korean War, said there was an issue with his paperwork, but he never forgot about his award. Now, he finally has his Bronze Star Medal.

CORONA, Calif. (KABC) -- A 93-year-old veteran from Corona was recently awarded a Bronze Star Medal for his service in the Korean War after more than seven decades.

George Mello, 93, said he's lucky to be alive after having some close calls during combat, but despite all of it, he's lived a fulfilling life.

"I was overwhelmed with all the publicity and the congressman and so forth," said Mello about his ceremony in March.

Corporal Mello was 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army, spending his first two years traveling the country as a construction engineer, but in 1950, he was sent to the Korean peninsula.

"I got there five days after the Korean War broke out," he recalled.

Mello still remembers the sights and sounds of the battles.

"They fought at night. You could hear the bugles blowing and the chaos, just to frighten us all," he said.

He fought in five major battles, which he says nearly cost him his life on more than one occasion. Mello's acts of bravery and heroism in combat earned him a Bronze Star and a trip home to spend his final year of enlistment stateside.

"The problem that I had with the service ... they lost my paperwork," he said.

He never forgot about his award and decided to reach out to Congressman Ken Calvert's office to see what he could do.

Calvert's office had him fill out paperwork and got the ball rolling. In March, 71 years after Mello was recognized for his heroism on the battlefield, Calvert pinned the Bronze Star on Mello in a ceremony at his retirement home in Valencia Terrace, surrounded by his children and friends.

"He was a brave soldier who served for some time in that conflict and was finally given the recognition he deserved," said Calvert.

The Bronze Star Medal is the 4th highest military honor given for heroism and meritorious deed performed in combat.