Melvin Finch was born on November 10, 1944, in Franklin, Louisiana. He entered Army Officer Candidate School on November 8, 1965, and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the Corps of Engineers on September 16, 1966. His first assignment was as an engineer with the U.S. Army Post in Paris, France, from October 1966 to July 1967, followed by Rotary Wing Aviation School at Fort Rucker, Alabama, from December 1967 to April 1968. Lt Finch next served as a helicopter pilot with Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 20th Artillery Regiment in South Vietnam from June 1968 to December 1969, and then at Fort Wolters, Texas, from February 1970 to May 1971. Capt Finch completed OH-6 Cayuse training in December 1971, and then returned to Southeast Asia as an OH-6 pilot with B Troop, 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment in South Vietnam from February 1972 until he was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War on March 30, 1972. He died at the hands of his captors on September 6, 1972, and his remains were returned to the U.S. on August 14, 1985. Melvin Finch was buried at the Black Jack Cemetery in Sardis, Mississippi.
His 3rd Bronze Star Medal Citation reads:
For meritorious achievement while held Prisoner of War in Southeast Asia during the period 30 March 1972 to 6 September 1972. His ceaseless efforts to conduct himself strictly in accord with the Code of Conduct and policies of the prisoner organization in the difficult conditions of a communist prison clearly demonstrated his loyalty, love of country and professionalism. By his unselfish dedication to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Army.