Gary Palmer presents medals to family of fallen 6th District solider

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Alabama 6th District U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer and former Alabama U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus presented several awards and medals to the family of  one of Alabama’s fallen war heroes, Melvin Spruiell this week.

Rep. Gary Palmer shaking the hands of First Lt. Spruiell’s family. [Photo courtesy of Gary Palmer]

The long overdue recognition was given for Spruiell’s part in the World War II D-Day Invasion of Europe.

In the summer of 1944, Spruiell served as a Forward Artillery Observer with the 377th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, First Lt. He exposed himself to enemy fire to locate a working radio in order to call in artillery to suppress and dislodge the enemy from their defensive position. He then volunteered as an infantryman, separating himself from his battalion, and led a charge across an open field to take out an enemy machine gun nest. During that action, First Lt. Spruiell was killed.

“His actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 101st Airborne Division, and the Army of the United States,” Palmer said in a Facebook post.

Spruiell graduated from Auburn University with a degree in chemical engineering, received a Masters at Tennessee, and a Doctorate at OSU.

Melvin Spruiell gravestone

Melvin Spruiell’s gravestone in Shilh Cemetery in Leeds, Ala.

First Lt. Spruiell’s family was presented with the following medals:

  • the American Campaign Medal
  • the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Device
  • one Bronze Service Star
  • the World War II Victory Medal
  • the Purple Heart
  • the Distinguished Service Cross.

“Men like First Lt. Spruiell are the reason America remains the home of the free and the land of the brave,” Palmer concluded.

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