BROOKLINE, MASS. >> The family of a US Navy commander killed in action accepted a long-overdue Purple Heart award on his behalf after nearly 50 years of fighting to correct his military record.

The Boston Globe reports the family of Commander Melvin Lederman accepted the military honor at a ceremony held Monday at Brookline Town Hall.

Veterans' Services officials say Lederman died alongside five Marines and one sailor on Nov. 29, 1969 when their rescue helicopter exploded in flight.

The deaths were initially attributed to a mechanical failure, but further investigation revealed that the plane crashed after taking on hostile gunfire. The records of the five Marines were changed to "Killed In Action" and they were given Purple Hearts.

Lederman and the sailor's records weren't adjusted until Congressman Joseph Kennedy III intervened.

Information from: The Boston Globe,