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John H. Morgan (Pilot)

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John Henry Morgan (June 21, 1920 - January 2, 1944) was a U.S. Army Air Corps officer and combat fighter pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group's 99th Fighter Squadron, best known as the Tuskegee Airmen, "Red Tails," or “Schwartze Vogelmenschen” ("Black Birdmen") among enemy German pilots.[1][2] He was one of 1,007 documented Tuskegee Airmen Pilots.[3]

Morgan is notable for being one of the first forty-three African American combat fighter pilots ever.[4] On September 6, 1942, Morgan graduated from the Tuskegee Air Field's sixth-ever Single Engine Cadet Section Class SE-42-H.[5]

Early life[edit]

Morgan was born on 1920 in Griffin in Spalding County, Georgia.[6][7][8] He was the son of James Stanley Morgan (1891 - 1974) and Beatrice Moore Morgan (1892–1964), a school principal and teacher, respectively, at Summerville High School in Cartersville, Georgia. In late 1924, James Stanley Morgan, a physically big man known for his "bulldog tenacity" and integrity, moved his family to Cartersville, Georgia, Bartow County to work as a school principal at Summerville High School where he remained until 1962.[9][10]

Raised in Cartersville, Georgia, Morgan graduated from Summerville High School.

Military Service, Tuskegee Airmen[edit]

On September 6, 1942, Morgan graduated from the Tuskegee Air Field's sixth-ever Single Engine Cadet Section Class SE-42-H, receiving his wings and a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant with service ID O-792423.[11][12] Morgan became one of the first forty-three African American combat fighter pilots ever.[13]

On April 16, 1943, Morgan and the 99th Fighter Squadron boarded the Mariposa steamship in the New York Harbor, arriving to Casablanca, French Morocco on April 24, 1943.[14] Assigned to the 12th Air Force, Morgan and the 99th Fighter Squadron shifted to a base in Oued N'ja, French Morocco. By June 2, 1943, Morgan and his squadron flew their first combat mission in P-40L aircraft, averaging two missions each day to Pantelleria, an island in the Mediterranean.[15] Temporarily attached to the 33d Fighter Group, Morgan and his squadron performed tactical and bomber escort missions during the 99th's relocation to Fardjouna, Tunisia. In late June 1943, Morgan and his squadron were reassigned to the 324th Fighter Group, where they flew bomber escort missions between Sicily and Tunisia.[16]

On August 14, 1943, during a patrol mission to Sicily's Licata Airbase, Morgan experienced engine problems, crash landing. Though the U.S. Army Air Corps initially declared Morgan missing in action, the 7th Army found Morgan, returning him to the 99th Fighter Squadron four days later on August 18, 1943.[17][18]

Death[edit]

On January 2, 1944, Morgan was killed when his head hit his P-40 aircraft's gunsight as he attempted a downwind landing at his base in Madna, Italy. His aircraft ran off the end of the runway into a ditch. Morgan was interred at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, Plot E Row 9 Grave 27 in Nettuno, Italy.[19]

At the time of his death, Morgan held the rank of 1st Lieutenant.[20]

Commendations[edit]

  • World War II Victory Medal[21]
  • Air Medal[22]
  • United States Aviator Badge Army.[23]
  • American Campaign Medal[24]
  • Army Presidential Unit Citation[25]
  • Army Good Conduct Medal[26]
  • European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign[27]

Legacy[edit]

  • On May 26, 2006, Carterville, Georgia, unveiled a statue of Morgan's parents, both prominent educators at Carterville's Summerville High School. Hundreds of people attended the unveiling, including two former Georgia governors, Summerville High School alumni and Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham. The sculpture was designed by Julia Knight.[28]
  • On February 5, 2012, Morgan's nephews, John Morgan, Bibby Morgan and Victor Morgan, were guest speakers at a lecture on Morgan's life in Carterville, Georgia. Major Humphrey Patton, Jr., Tuskegee Airman and fellow 99th Fighter Squadron member, attended as well. The lecture was part of a Tuskegee Airmen of World War II series accompanying the exhibit, "The Tuskegee Airmen: The Segregated Skies of World War II."[29]

See also[edit]

  • Tuskegee Airmen
  • List of Tuskegee Airmen Cadet Pilot Graduation Classes
  • List of Tuskegee Airmen
  • Military history of African Americans
  • Dogfights (TV series)
  • Executive Order 9981
  • The Tuskegee Airmen (movie)

References[edit]

  1. PUBLIC LAW 109–213—APR. 11, 2006 CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL TO THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN". https://www.congress.gov/109/plaws/publ213/PLAW-109publ213.pdf
  2. Caf Rise Above. "Edward Lucien Toppins". https://cafriseabove.org/joseph-d-elsberry/
  3. "Tuskegee Airmen Pilot Roster". CAF Rise Above. CAF Rise Above. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  4. CAF Rise Above. "Tuskegee Airmen Pilot Roster." https://cafriseabove.org/the-tuskegee-airmen/tuskegee-airmen-pilot-roster/ . This data derives from CAF Rise Above's research project compiling data from Tuskegee Airmen historians including the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
  5. CAF Rise Above. "Tuskegee Airmen Pilot Roster." https://cafriseabove.org/the-tuskegee-airmen/tuskegee-airmen-pilot-roster/
  6. Summer Hill Oral History Project. "Interview with: John H. Morgan, James Stanley (Bibby) Morgan III, William Victor (Victor) Morgan." Interviewed by: Jennifer Jongema. Kennesaw State University, Department of History and Philosophy. Location: Cartersville School Board, Cartersville, Georgia. Date: April 26, 2003. Transcribed by: Mim Eisenberg/WordCraft; February 2004 Edited by: Melissa Massey, LeeAnn Lands. http://summer-hill.org/TRANSCRIPTS/Morgans_26April2003.pdf
  7. Etowah valley Historical Society. "African-American." https://evhsonline.org/african-american
  8. Starduststudios.com. "Tuskegee Airman John H. Morgan."https://www.starduststudios.com/john-h-morgan.html
  9. Reflections. "COMMEMORATING SUMMER HILL: AN AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN CARTERSVILLE." A Program of the Historic Preservation Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resource. Volume VI, No. 4 April 2007. https://visitcartersvillega.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/SummerHill_Reflections_April_2007-1.pdf
  10. Summer Hill Oral History Project. "Interview with: John H. Morgan, James Stanley (Bibby) Morgan III, William Victor (Victor) Morgan." Interviewed by: Jennifer Jongema. Kennesaw State University, Department of History and Philosophy. Location: Cartersville School Board, Cartersville, Georgia. Date: April 26, 2003. Transcribed by: Mim Eisenberg/WordCraft; February 2004 Edited by: Melissa Massey, LeeAnn Lands. http://summer-hill.org/TRANSCRIPTS/Morgans_26April2003.pdf
  11. CAF Rise Above. "Tuskegee Airmen Pilot Roster." https://cafriseabove.org/the-tuskegee-airmen/tuskegee-airmen-pilot-roster/
  12. Honor States. "John H. Morgan." https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=29650
  13. CAF Rise Above. "Tuskegee Airmen Pilot Roster." https://cafriseabove.org/the-tuskegee-airmen/tuskegee-airmen-pilot-roster/ . This data derives from CAF Rise Above's research project compiling data from Tuskegee Airmen historians including the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
  14. Starduststudios.com. "Tuskegee Airman John H. Morgan."https://www.starduststudios.com/john-h-morgan.html
  15. Starduststudios.com. "Tuskegee Airman John H. Morgan."https://www.starduststudios.com/john-h-morgan.html
  16. Starduststudios.com. "Tuskegee Airman John H. Morgan."https://www.starduststudios.com/john-h-morgan.html
  17. Missing Air Crew Report # 229.
  18. Wikitree. "John Henry Morgan (1920 - 1944)." https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Morgan-31484
  19. Honor States. "John H. Morgan." https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=29650
  20. Together We Served. "Morgan, John Henry, 1st Lt - Fallen." https://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=BattleMemoryExt&ID=53380
  21. Honor States. "John H. Morgan." https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=29650
  22. Honor States. "John H. Morgan." https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=29650
  23. Honor States. "John H. Morgan." https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=29650
  24. Honor States. "John H. Morgan." https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=29650
  25. Honor States. "John H. Morgan." https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=29650
  26. Honor States. "John H. Morgan." https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=29650
  27. Honor States. "John H. Morgan." https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=29650
  28. Reflections. "COMMEMORATING SUMMER HILL: AN AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN CARTERSVILLE." A Program of the Historic Preservation Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resource. Volume VI, No. 4 April 2007. https://visitcartersvillega.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/SummerHill_Reflections_April_2007-1.pdf
  29. Patch. "Talk on John Henry Morgan, Tuskegee Airman." Brande Poulnot, Patch Staff. Posted Sun, Feb 5, 2012 at 12:50 am ET|Updated Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 2:24 am ET. https://patch.com/georgia/cartersville/ev--talk-on-john-henry-morgan-tuskegee-airman


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