The Medal of Honor that hung on the Tomb of the Unknowns for 14 years while Air Force Lt. Michael J. Blassie was buried there will not join him at his new burial place.

Relatives of the Vietnam War casualty, whose remains were identified and moved this summer to a national cemetery near his home, were told by Undersecretary of Defense Rudy de Leon that their request for the medal had been denied.The family was disappointed but respects the Defense Department's decision, said Blassie's sister, Air Force Reserve Capt. Patricia Blassie.

"As a family, we really believe the medal should follow Michael," she said Friday.

The St. Louis pilot was shot down during the battle of An Loc in South Vietnam on May 11, 1972.