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PASSINGS: Melvin E. Biddle, the Rev. Henry Covington

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Melvin E. 'Bud' Biddle

Medal of Honor recipient

Melvin E. "Bud" Biddle, 87, a World War II infantryman who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, died Dec. 16 at Saint John's Medical Center in Anderson, Ind., where he lived. The cause was not given.

On Dec. 23, 1944, Pfc. Biddle was acting as the lead scout for his unit during an Allied attack in frigid conditions that liberated the town of Hotton, Belgium, from the Germans.

On his approach through a dense forest, he encountered three German snipers and quickly shot and killed all three. He continued his advance and lobbed hand grenades into several machine gun nests, killing the soldiers manning them.

Biddle's Medal of Honor citation described his "conspicuous gallantry … intrepid courage and superb daring" during the 20-hour siege of the town, which ended when the enemy fled as the U.S. Army closed in.

A native of Daleville, Ind., Biddle was drafted into the Army at age 19.

When he received the nation's highest military award on Oct. 12, 1945, President Truman reportedly told him: "People don't believe me when I tell them I'd rather have one of these than be president."

Friends said Biddle was a humble man who rarely talked about his wartime experiences.

He had been married to his wife, Leona, for 64 years.

The Rev. Henry Covington

Former addict worked with homeless

The Rev. Henry Covington, 53, who set aside years of drug abuse and lawbreaking to serve God and the homeless at a decaying church in Detroit and later was featured in a Mitch Albom book, died Tuesday in New York City.

Covington was visiting New York after appearing with Albom, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, on NBC's "Today" show. The cause has not been determined, Albom said.

Covington, senior pastor of I Am My Brother's Keeper Ministries in Detroit, was one of the people that Albom wrote about in his 2009 book "Have a Little Faith."

-- Times staff and wire reports

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