Morgan -- 2nd Lt John C Morgan

Medal of Honor recipient, WWII

Medal of Honor recipient, WWII

John C. Morgan enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on August 4, 1941, and then joined the Royal Air Force Eagle Squadrons in 1942. He trained at Saskatchewan and Ontario, Canada, and Church Lawford, England. He transferred to the Eighth Air Force of the U.S. Army Air Forces upon its arrival in England.  Morgan qualified as a flight officer in March 1943 and as a second lieutenant eight months later.1

He flew B–17s from England with the 325th, 326th, and 813th Bomb Squadrons.2 On December 17, 1943, he received the Medal of Honorfor his actions as copilot of a B–17 during his fifth mission with the U.S. Army Air Forces, a raid targeting Hannover, Germany, on July 26, 1943.4

He was in the copilot's seat when his B–17 was attacked by a large force of enemy fighters. The plane was severely damaged, and the pilot, hit by a frontal attack, fell over the steering wheel, tightly clamping his arms around it.5  The medal citation reads, in part: "2d 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 arm 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. Officer Morgan made his decision to continue the flight and protect any members of the crew who might still be in the ship and for 2 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."

Then-First Lieutenant Morgan was shot down on a mission over Germany on March 6, 1944, and he was a prisoner of war until May 1, 1945.7 He returned to the United States after the war and was separated from active duty on January 29, 1946, but remained in the Reserves. He was promoted to major in July 1950. In June 1951, he was recalled to active duty and assigned to Technical Training Command as an operations and training officer. He went off active duty again in August 1953 but continued in the Reserves. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in August 1957.8 

*The citation for Lieutenant Colonel Morgan’s Medal of Honor states that his acts of heroism took place on July 28, 1943. However, the evidence of interviews, testimony, and Eighth Air Force documents confirm that the mission to Hannover occurred on July 26, 1943.


1 “Morgan, John Cary,” Air Force Recipients of the Medal of Honor, HQ USAF/HO, Bolling AFB, DC, August 1995, p. 22.  This information is quoted from the source verbatim. 

2 “Morgan, John Cary,” Air Force Recipients of the Medal of Honor, HQ USAF/HO, Bolling AFB, DC, August 1995, p. 22.  This information is quoted from the source verbatim. 

3  Congressional Medal of Honor Society, “Morgan, John C.” (Medal of Honor Citation), http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/2899/morgan-john-c.php, accessed 20 October 2016. 

4  Although both the original fact sheet and the official Medal of Honor citation give the date as 28 July 1943, official records of the 92d Bombardment Group pinpoint it as 26 July.  See Memo, Lt. Col. Andre R. Brosseau, Operations Officer, Headquarters, 92d Bombardment Group to Commanding Officer, 92d Bombardment Group, subj: Report on Planning and Execution of Operations for Mission 26 July 1943, Hannover, Germany, 27 July 1943, Air Force Historical Support Division, Reference Branch documents.  The memo does not detail Flight Officer Morgan’s actions but does pinpoint the mission to Hannover on 26 July 1943. 

5  “Morgan, John Cary,” Air Force Recipients of the Medal of Honor, HQ USAF/HO, Bolling AFB, DC, August 1995, p. 22.  This information is quoted from the source verbatim. 

6 Congressional Medal of Honor Society, “Morgan, John C.” (Medal of Honor Citation), http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/2899/morgan-john-c.php, accessed 20 October 2016. 

7 “Morgan, John Cary,” Air Force Recipients of the Medal of Honor, HQ USAF/HO, Bolling AFB, DC, August 1995, p. 22.  Not verbatim. 

8 “Morgan, John Cary,” Air Force Recipients of the Medal of Honor, HQ USAF/HO, Bolling AFB, DC, August 1995, p. 22.  This information is quoted from the source verbatim.


See the full citation at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.