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Jack Morton

  • Jack Morton crouches here with a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). Behind him can be seen a primitive lean-to dugout. Source: Edward Gekosky Collection.
  • Americal Division General Orders #167 awards a Silver Star to two soldiers of Company G - Robert Egler and Jack Morton. Source: National Archives.
  • The Silver Star is pinned on the uniform of Jack Morton by an unknown officer, possibly Major General William Arnold. Morton was awarded the medal for actions on Bouganville in Oct 1944. Source: Edward Gekosky Collection.
  • Jack Morton, awarded a battlefield commission from enlisted soldier to commissioned officer, was (technically) temporarily discharged from the Army in order to make the transition. Source: National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records.

Jack Morton (seen in Photo #1) joined Company G as a replacement on Fiji at the end of 1943. He had trained with Clayton Brown at Fort Ord, in California. Both men were assigned to the 2nd Platoon, “Roy’s Raiders.” During the October 1944 offensive on Bougainville, Morton was awarded a Silver Star. While attacking a pillbox, a man from the unit, Arnold West, was killed. In the ensuing action, Morton led a savage attack to knock out the pillbox. The citation in Photo #2 reads like something out of a Hollywood screenplay. Note that another man of the unit, Robert Egler, was also awarded a Silver Star in the same set of orders. In a formal ceremeny, Morton’s Silver Star was pinned on his uniform by an unnamed officer, possibly Major General William Arnold, as seen in Photo #3.

In May 1945 on Cebu, Morton was the recipient of one of the most prestigious advancements in the Army – a battlefield commission. He was technically “discharged” from the Army, and then returned to duty as a commissioned officer. The Morning Report in Photo #4 shows the two steps in this process happening simultaneously. New officers in such cases were often transferred to new units, as they had an inappropriate sense of familiarity with the men they were now leading. In this case, Morton remained with Company G.

Morton participated in the occupation of Japan, but was sent back to the Philippines for hospitalization for illness. After release from the hospital, he took a long route back to Japan (several months, in fact), and by the time he got there, the 182nd Infantry had left the country. He made it home safely to the United States, where he resettled in Oregon, and remained lifelong friends with Clayton Brown. He passed away in 2008.