ARLINGTON, TX – (November 4, 2021)– The National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation (NMOHMF) is excited to announce the addition of Flight Officer John C. “Red” Morgan’s Medal of Honor and other historical objects related to his service to the Museum’s growing collection. During a ceremony in NMOHMF’s Arlington headquarters, the family of the heroic World War II veteran presented the Medal and other priceless family artifacts to the National Medal of Honor Museum team.
“It is with great humility and gratitude that the NMOHMF accepts the Medal of Honor that belonged to Flight Officer John C. Morgan, along with a number of other priceless family heirlooms. It is incredibly generous of the Morgan family to share these treasured emblems of their loved one’s service with the entire nation by allowing us to house and feature them in the museum we are building. It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to tell Red Morgan’s story and display his Medal for future generations of Americans to learn from,” said Chris Cassidy, NMOHMF President and CEO.
Sam Morgan expressed his excitement in donating the Medal to the Museum, saying “We recently had an emotional visit to the NMOHMF offices. After meeting the Foundation team, any hesitancy I had about leaving my dad’s Medal disappeared. After they shared their plans about the future of the museum, my family and I could not think of a more appropriate way to preserve the legacy of my father and the extraordinary heroism he displayed when he earned the Medal of Honor. He loved our country, and we are all proud of what he did for it. We know that the National Medal of Honor Museum will safeguard his legacy for decades to come.”
Flight Officer John “Red” Morgan was a U.S Army Air Force flight officer aboard a B-17F Flying Fortress on a bombing mission to Hanover, Germany on July 28, 1943, when he earned the Medal of Honor. Targeted frontally by German FW-190 fighters, the cockpit of Morgan’s plane – Ruthie II – was repeatedly hit by cannon and heavy machine gun fire. Cannon shells smashed the windshield in front of Morgan and other machine gun bullets mortally wounded the aircraft’s pilot. For several hours Morgan struggled with one arm to hold back the wounded and combative pilot who refused to relinquish control, and with the other arm sought to keep the bomber in formation. Morgan’s flying skills and determination saved the bomber and its crew, allowing them to successfully complete their vital bombing mission and safely return to a friendly airbase. News of this remarkable action quickly spread amongst the 8th Air Force bomber units in England and Morgan was awarded the Medal of Honor by Lieutenant General Ira Eaker on December 18, 1943, in London. Morgan’s actions were so widely renowned that he had the opportunity to meet with members of the British Royal Family, was featured in countless articles and was the inspiration for a character in the 1949 movie, “Twelve O’Clock High.”
Months later in the spring of 1944, Morgan defied an order to avoid further combat missions and was shot down over Berlin. Morgan spent the rest of the war as a prisoner in a Luftwaffe camp in Germany. He has the distinction of being the only Medal of Honor recipient to become a prisoner of war during World War II after receiving his decoration.
“Red” Morgan’s love of country and dedication to military service has had a profound impact on generations of the Morgan family. In addition to his two grandsons Mark and John serving in the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, respectively, his granddaughter Rachel also served her country in the military for nearly a decade. Red’s son Sam Morgan dedicated two decades of his life to protecting his country in the U.S. Air Force. We are incredibly grateful for their family’s tremendous legacy of service.
Born in Vernon, Texas, Morgan spent much of his youth in Wichita Falls and Amarillo, Texas. Morgan passed away in 1991 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The National Medal of Honor Museum is always on the lookout for historical artifacts to add to its collection. If you have items that you would wish to donate to the museum, please contact our curator, Mr. Greg Waters at email@example.com.