Photo with medals above is from his High School Graduation.
SGT Dentino was killed when the supporting unit had begun fire toward the enemy
when two rounds fell short, killing him and SGT Michael Roy Waters, Millen Georga.
The blast which killed Dentino, Waters, and wounded 29 others was not from a nearby enemy when the unit was leaving Cambodia in June 1970. Members
of the Charlie Company, First Battalion, 12th
Calvary Regiment soon learned it wasn't enemy mortars but fellow U.S. Troops. They called it "Friendly Fire".
"All the guys that were wounded got a Purple Heart," said Company Commander Michael Christy. "For the two who were killed, it was listed as
non-hostile, and no Purple Hearts are allowed for non-hostile." Christy filed the paperwork but it took 42 years for Dentino to receive his
In 2012, the Army Board for Correction of Military Records approved the change in his status from Non-Hostile, to Hostile, and approved the award of
Dentino's Purple Heart.
On Veteran's Day 2013, in a ceremony at the Palo Alto Veterans Center, the military finally presented his sister, Teresa Dentino with
her brother's Purple Heart medal. Read the full story and
see news video here.
Presentation of Purple Heart Ceremony - Palo Alto November 2013.
Citation read as Teresa, Merle's sister, awaits presentation of Purple Heart.
Teresa, Merle's sister, receives his Purple Heart from the Sergeant Major.
Conclusion of Presentation of Purple Heart - Palo Alto November 2013.