1st Lt John Henry Morgan
June 21, 1920 – January 2, 1944
Class: 42-H-SE
Graduation Date: September 6, 1942
Graduation Rank: 1st Lt
Unit: 79th Fighter Group, 99th Fighter Squadron
Service # O-792423

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

Morgan was born on 1920 in Griffin in Spalding County, Georgia. He was the son of James Stanley Morgan and Beatrice Moore Morgan, 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.

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. Morgan became one of the first forty-three African American combat fighter pilots ever.

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. 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. 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.

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.

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.

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

Sources:
Everybody Wiki
HonorStates.org
Star Dust Studios

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