Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army Air Corps

John Cary Morgan

  • Also Known As: "Red" Morgan
  • Rank: Second Lieutenant (rank at time of action: Flight Officer)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    326th Bombardment Squadron, 92d Bombardment Group,
    8th Air Force
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: July 28, 1943
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: over Kiel, Germany

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty, while participating on a bombing mission over enemy-occupied continental Europe, 28 July 1943. Prior to reaching the German coast on the way to the target, the B-17 airplane in which 2d Lt. Morgan was serving as copilot was attacked by a large force of enemy fighters, during which the oxygen system to the tail, waist, and radio gun positions was knocked out. A frontal attack placed a cannon shell through the windshield, totally shattering it, and the pilot's skull was split open by a .303-caliber shell, leaving him in a crazed condition. The pilot fell over the steering wheel, tightly clamping his arms around it. Second Lt. Morgan at once grasped the controls from his side and, by sheer strength, pulled the airplane back into formation despite the frantic struggles of the semiconscious pilot. The interphone had been destroyed, rendering it impossible to call for help. At this time the top turret gunner fell to the floor and down through the hatch with his arms shot off at the shoulder and a gaping wound in his side. The waist, tail, and radio gunners had lost consciousness from lack of oxygen and, hearing no fire from their guns, the copilot believed they had bailed out. The wounded pilot still offered desperate resistance in his crazed attempts to fly the airplane. There remained the prospect of flying to and over the target and back to a friendly base wholly unassisted. In the face of this desperate situation, 2d Lt. Morgan made his decision to continue the flight and protect any members of the crew who might still be in the ship and for two hours he flew in formation with one hand at the controls and the other holding off the struggling pilot before the navigator entered the steering compartment and relieved the situation. The miraculous and heroic performance of 2d Lt. Morgan on this occasion resulted in the successful completion of a vital bombing mission and the safe return of his airplane and crew.

Medal of Honor Recipient John Cary "red" Morgan
Medal of Honor Recipient John Cary "red" Morgan
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: London, England
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: December 18, 1943

    Widewing, England by Lt. General Ira C. Eaker

  • Born: August 24, 1914, Vernon, Wilbarger County, TX, United States
  • Died: January 17, 1991, Papillton, NE, United States
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery (MH) (59-351), Arlington, VA

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