Published: Feb 22, 2014 7:34 AM EST
Updated: Feb 22, 2014 10:26 AM EST

(Cocoa, Fla. ) - Melvin Morris says he fell to his knees in shock when he the Army told him he'd be getting a call from President Barack Obama to discuss the Medal of Honor he would be receiving for his actions in Vietnam.
The 72-year-old Cocoa, Fla., man will be one 24 veterans from three wars to receive the U.S. military's highest honor March 18. They come after a congressionally mandated review of minorities who may have been passed over because of long-held prejudices.
In 1969, Morris was commanding a strike force that came under attack and a fellow commander was killed near an enemy bunker. Despite heavy fire, Morris retrieved the man's body and a strategic map.
Morris says he never realized that being black might have kept the Medal of Honor from him.