Stai, Melvin Rubin, CPT

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1951-2011, 1542, POW/MIA
Service Years
1940 - 1951



Four Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by LTC Harry G Cramer, III to remember Stai, Melvin Rubin (DSC), CPT.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Spokane, WA

Casualty Date
Apr 22, 1951
Hostile, Died while Captured
Other Cause
Korea, North
Korean War
Location of Interment
Washington State Veterans Cemetery - Medical Lake, Washington
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord Honorably Discharged WW II 2nd Infantry Division

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Korean War Fallen
  1951, Korean War Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 2nd Award

 Unit Assignments
1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry2nd Infantry DivisionPOW/MIA
  1950-1951, 1542, HHC, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry
  1950-1951, 2nd Infantry Division
  1951-2011, 1542, POW/MIA
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1950-1950 Korean War/UN Defensive (1950)/Battle of Pusan Perimeter
  1950-1950 Korean War/UN Offensive (1950)/Eighth Army Offensive
  1950-1951 Korean War/CCF Intervention (1950-51)
  1951-1951 Korean War/First UN Counteroffensive (1951)/Battle of the Twin Tunnels
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Captain Melvin R. Stai was killed in action during the Korean War on April 22, 1951. 

His remains were discovered in Korea in the 1990s. They were escorted to Hawaii where they were identified by DNA and dental records. With the positive identification complete, Captain Stai will be escorted to his home town of Spokane, WA.

Distinguished Service Cross

Awarded for actions during the Korean War

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Captain (Infantry) Melvin Ruben Stai  United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with as Commanding Officer of Company A, 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division.

Captain Stai distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Kunu-ri, Korea, on 30 November 1950. While the 1st Battalion was fighting a delaying action south of Kunu-ri, Captain Stai's company was in reserve position at the base of a hill. When the enemy infiltrated and seized the hill, he was ordered to launch a counterattack to retake it. In the face of extremely heavy automatic-weapons fire, he started his advance up the hill and was almost immediately halted by the overwhelming enemy fire. During this halt, he continuously exposed himself to withering enemy fire in order to coordinate and direct the fire of his company. Despite the urging of platoon and squad leaders, the men of Company A were not able to advance in the face of increasingly heavy enemy fire.

Captain Stai, resuming the advance alone, had gone about fifty yards up the hill when the men of Company A, inspired by his courageous action, rallied behind him and began pressing the attack. This attack once renewed, succeeded in driving the enemy from the strategic position, killing approximately fifty and routing the remainder. After being driven from the hilltop, the enemy laid down a heavy concentration of direct mortar and machine-gun fire on their deserted position, but in spite of his heavy fire, Captain Stai, although he could be clearly seen by the enemy, remained in the open and placed each man of his command in position to fire upon the retreating enemy. After securing the hill, he held the position throughout the day, and thereby contributed greatly to the successful withdrawal of the remainder of the regiment.

General Orders: Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 90 (February 22, 1951)
Action Date: November 30, 1950
Service: Army
Rank: Captain
Company: Company A
Battalion: 1st Battalion
Regiment: 23d Infantry Regiment
Division: 2d Infantry Division
On July 6, 2011, a casket containing the remains of Capt. Melvin R. Stai arrived at Spokane International Airport from Hawaii under Army escort.

Stai, a highly decorated war hero, served as an enlisted man in World War II before returning to his nation's service as an officer with the 2nd Infantry Division in the Korean War. Stai was captured near Wonju on January 29, 1951, during the Battle of Twin Tunnels.

He is believed to have been killed on April 22 of that year in a U.S. air raid at Suan Bean Camp, where he was being held prisoner. "They kept prisoners on bases so we wouldn't attack, but we did anyway," said Stai's son, Mike Stai, of Spokane, who was 6 years old when his father was lost. Stai remembers his family listened to radio reports in which the names of POWs were read over the air, hoping for word about his father. Later, Stai learned his father was in a foxhole too close to a building, and that he and three other U.S. prisoners of war were buried by the rubble from the bombing. In 1992, the mixed remains of the men were turned over to the U.S. Army, Mike Stai said.

The remains were identified Jan. 21 through a DNA match with a sample given by Capt. Stai's sister. The son of Norwegian immigrants, Stai was raised in Wisconsin. His son believes Stai moved to Spokane, the hometown of his wife, Marietta, in the 1940s. The couple had two children, Mike and a daughter Marylyn, who is deceased. Several grandchildren and other relatives continue to live in Spokane.

Before being captured, Stai already had distinguished himself in battle, earning the Distinguished Service Cross, as well as a Silver Star and Bronze Star medals. Stai earned the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions on Nov. 30, 1950, near Kunu-ri, Korea, where "he continuously exposed himself to withering enemy fire in order to coordinate and direct the fire of his company," according to the award citation. His men "inspired by his courageous action, rallied behind him and began pressing the attack … driving the enemy from the strategic position.

Captain Stai was buried July 9 at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery.

He is survived by his son Mike (Kathy) Stai of Spokane; one sister; and grandchildren Marlene Marie, Vienna, Lishia, Katira, Shawn Wesley, Ron and Antone.
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