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Airplanes, Rocketry, Missiles, Spacecraft and things that go WHOOSH! in the night.
What's flying around my head at the current time.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Col. Morgan "Goes West" 

Found this reading the rec.models.scale newsgroup today.

Memphis Belle pilot dead at 85

By Asheville Citizen-Times

May 16, 2004 12:25 a.m.

Col. Robert Morgan, an Asheville native and commander of the famed Memphis Belle B-17 bomber that flew combat missions over Europe during World War II, has died in an Asheville hospital, his wife Linda Morgan said. Col. Morgan, 85, fell at the Asheville Regional Airport April 21, after attending an air show recently and had been hospitalized since.

"He fought a hard battle but he just had a lot of things against him," Linda Morgan said.

Col. Morgan came down with pneumonia last Monday and that combined with a massive infection contributed to his passing according to his wife.

"I want to thank each and every one of the people at Mission/St. Joseph's that contributed to his care. They were phenomenal," she said. "He got the best care anyone could get they are incredible, compassionate people."

Col. Morgan’s family was with him when he died.

The Memphis Belle was a World War II B-17 Flying Fortress in which Morgan and his crew flew 25 combat missions in daylight over Nazi-occupied France and Germany.

This occurred when 82 percent of the bombers in their bomb group were shot down in the first three months of combat beginning in November 1942.

Morgan put that into perspective by saying "you have breakfast with 10 guys, then you have dinner with only two. My crew and I aren't heroes, we didn't do anything any better than any other bomber crew. We were just damned lucky."

On Nov. 24, 1944, he made history when his B-29 named "Dauntless Dotty" was chosen to lead the first B-29 raid on Tokyo.

It was the first U.S. raid against Tokyo since Doolittle's in 1942 in B-25s. Morgan went on to command 25 missions over Japan.

Tentative plans are for a memorial service at Trinity Episcopal Church in Asheville on Saturday. The family will release more details later this week.

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