Shortly after landing his B-17 Flying Fortress, an example pictured on left, he was again ordered back to his barracks in confinement. Yesterday's readers will remember that was his status for a minor infraction, before the above mentioned bomb run, and how he tricked others into thinking he was supposed to fly the mission, when in fact he was grounded at the time.
Morgan did to not let on the true dangers and heroics of the mission, but word soon got around and the brass then had a real problem on their hands. The man was a hero. He needed to be recommended for the Medal of Honor. But how could this be done when the true facts of his confinement status, would become known and possibly jepordize the success of any recommendation for a medal. So the brass did what brass do. They simpy juggled the books to make the flight appear to have actually happened two days after the fact... and after the confinement was lifted. Cute eh!
The nomination passed on up throught the ranks and Morgan was awarded the Medal of Honor in December 1943. He was then ordered not to fly any more missions. But Morgan would argue that as long as the Germans were flying he would continue to fly... and got away with it.
Morgan would fly several more bomb runs and then came his first flight over Berlin in March 1944. His plane was destroyed in a hit that resulted in a massive explosion with 8 being killed instantly. He would amazingly managed to grab a parashute before being blown out of the plane. But then he had to struggle to get it on as he was plumeting towards certain death, first head first then feet first as he tumbled down. By the time he got it on he had just A FEW MORE SECONDS before falling into the tree lines then dropping 30 feet to A STANDING POSITION on the ground. Probably the longest freefall in history ended with the Germans coming along in very short order, taking him a prisoner and the rest of his war would be spent in a POW Camp.
Morgan would spend 14 months as a POW before final release.
In 1948 a book came out by two former airforce officers called Twleve O'Clock High. One of the characters in the book was based on Morgan's story. The following year a movie of the same name came out and the character Jesse Bishop was based on Morgan's heroic actions and his very citation was used in the movie script.
On return to the US Morgan would return to work with Texaco in the aviation fuel side of the house. He would work out of Chicago and end up a divisional manager in California before retiring after more than 40 yrs service to the company.
During the Korean War he took a leave of absence and, whilst still holding his rank in the reserves, he requested an assignment back in action again but was refused. Instead he was employed in the shuttling of cargo across the US for about 2 years. His third and final year was as the Acting Deputy Assitant Secretary of the US Air Force. He would retire with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
For a man with a very trouble academic career in many colleges, it seems a monsrtous accomplishment to now have his heroics on display at many universities across the US and also at the US Air Force Academy itself.
When asked about his heroism John Carey would usually downplay his role, like most of these Medal of Honor heroes do. He would be quoted once saying that "There's no such thing as a hero... I was pushed into circumstances where I was forced to act."
Many might not agree!