The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom


United States Marine Corps

William Morgan


Corporal William D. Morgan
United States Marine Corps

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Squad Leader with Company H, Second Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division in operations against the enemy in the Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam. On 25 February 1969, while participating in Operation DEWEY CANYON southeast of Vandegrift Combat Base, one of the squads of Corporal Morgan's platoon was temporarily pinned down and sustained several casualties while attacking a North Vietnamese Army force occupying a heavily-fortified bunker complex. Observing that two of the wounded Marines had fallen in a position dangerously exposed to the enemy fire and that all attempts to evacuate them were halted by a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire and rocket-propelled grenades, Corporal Morgan unhesitatingly maneuvered through the dense jungle undergrowth to a road that passed in front of a hostile emplacement which was the principal source of enemy fire. Fully aware of the possible consequences of his valiant action, but thinking only of the welfare of his injured companions, Corporal Morgan shouted words of encouragement to them as he initiated an aggressive assault against the hostile bunker. While charging across the open road, he was clearly visible to the hostile soldiers who turned their fire in his direction and mortally wounded him, but his diversionary tactic enabled the remainder of his squad to retrieve their casualties and overrun the North Vietnamese Army position. His heroic and determined actions saved the Lives of two fellow Marines and were instrumental in the subsequent defeat of the enemy. Corporal Morgan's indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

President of the United States

William D. Morgan, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during February 1969 in Vietnam, was born 17 September 1947, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He completed Mount Lebanon Elementary, Jr. High, and High Schools there in 1962 and 1966, respectively. He then attended Hiram Scott College, Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, for six months.

Enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, in Pittsburgh on 18 November 1966, he was discharged 4 January 1967, to enlist in the Regular Marine Corps.

Upon completion of recruit training with the 3d Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, in March 1967, he was transferred to Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he completed individual combat training with Company D, 1st Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Training Regiment, in April.

From May until June 1967, he was a student at the Sea School, Marine Barracks, U.S. Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia. He was promoted to private first class, 1 June 1967, and to lance corporal, 1 February 1968.

Lance Corporal Morgan served a one year tour of sea duty with the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Newport News (CA-148).

In July 1968, he was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam. He served as a rifleman, fire team leader, and squad leader, with Company H, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division. He was promoted to corporal, 1 September 1968. While participating in Operation Dewey Canyon, southeast of Vandegrift Combat Base on 25 February 1969, he was killed in action.

A complete list of his medals and decorations includes: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

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