Woodrow F. Morgan 99th FS. Photo courtesy Craig Huntly

Woodrow F. Morgan
July 25, 1918 – May 29, 2003
Class 43-I-SE
Unit 99th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group
Captured: July 26, 1944, Austria
Prison camp: Stalag Luft 1

“Woody” Morgan was a pilot in the 332nd Fighter Group’s 99th Fighter Squadron, the “Red Tails” – the famed Tuskegee Airmen whose pilots became legends in the skies over Europe during World War II.

Beginning in late 1943 he flew twenty-eight missions in north Africa and Europe, shot down three German planes and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. In May, 1944, Woodrow, flying his P-40 Warhawk Fighter, was shot down over northern Italy and captured by Germans as they retreated from the advancing Allied troops. Although injured, he retreated with the German troops to a railroad line in Germany, subsisting on a daily ration of a stale piece of bread and a small amount of water. After arriving at an interim prisoner of war camp, he was placed in solitary confinement in total darkness for approximately forty-five days, again with only one piece of bread and a small cup of water each day. In January, 1945, as Russian troops approached the interim camp, Woody and other captives were forced to embark on an 18-day “death march” in freezing weather along public highways towards a more permanent camp just north of Moosburg, Germany. They marched 24 hours a day, stopping every hour for a 10-minute rest break. Each evening at 7 P.M. they received one slice of stale bread. Some villagers gave them water as they passed through the towns; otherwise, they had only roadside snow to sustain them. Many Allied prisoners died during this trek. Woodrow collapsed and was unable to continue the march following one rest break. He was picked up and dragged along with the group by two Mormon soldiers. That turned out to be the last stretch of the march before reaching the huge prison camp. He was confined at Moosburg from February until April of 1945 when the camp was liberated by General George S. Patton’s troops. First Lieutenant Morgan was separated from military service on November 20, 1945 after serving three years.

Learn more about the 32 captured Tuskegee Airmen POWs.

Visit the Red Tail Virtual Museum to see the Artifact Veteran’s Memorial Bronze Statue depicting an incident on Hitler’s Death March where Lt Gunn and a friend, Lt Dee Butler, saved the life of Woodrow (Woody) Morgan.

Pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group, “Tuskegee Airmen,” the elite, all-African American 332nd Fighter Group at Ramitelli, Italy., from left to right, Lt. Dempsey W. Morgan, Lt. Carroll S. Woods, Lt. Robert H. Nelson, Jr., Capt. Andrew D. Turner, and Lt. Clarence P. Lester

Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama

Sources:
Legacy.com
Wikimedia Commons

 

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