|Pilot Ensign George J. Morgan, Jr., O-106710 (MIA / KIA) NJ
MIA October 2, 1942
Built by Grumman Corporation in Bethpage, New York as a model G-36 with manually operated folding wings. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as F4F-4 Wildcat bureau number 5195.
During early April 1942, assigned to USS Saratoga CV-3 to squadron VF-5 "Fighting Five". No known nickname or nose art.
On October 2, 1942 after radar detected an formation of roughly twenty to thirty incoming enemy fighters. On the ground, a red alert was sounded and all available aircraft were scrambled. Ensign George Morgan took off from Fighter 1 on Guadalcanal at 12:20pm. In total, thirty-six Wildcats were scrambled including fourteen Wildcats from VF-5, eleven Wildcats from VMF-223, eleven Wildcats from VMF-224 and seven SBD Dauntless dive bombers.
Morgan's loss was not observed by the other pilots. Likely, he was ambushed by Zeros and shot down.
When this Wildcat failed to return and was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was F4F 02110 (Kendrick, KIA), F4F 02098 (Lees, MIA), F4F 02112 (Treptow, MIA), F4F 03502 (Smith, rescued), F4F 02118 (Galer, rescued).
Morgan was officially declared dead on December 4, 1945. He earned the Purple Heart and was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade, posthumously. Morgan is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. He also has a memorial marker at Palisado Cemetery in Windsor, CT.
Fold3 NARA "United States Marine Corps Headquarters, Marine Aircraft Group Twenty-Three, First Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force page 62
"1230 Air Raid.... Radar reported flight of small fast planes approaching Henderson Field. 14 planes of VF-5, 11 of VMF-224, 11 of VMF-223 and 7 SBD's scrambled to attack. At 1300 about 30 Zeros and some bombers were engaged over field... Four Zeros were shot down and 6 of our fighters were shot down of which 2 pilots were recovered uninjured. VF-5 Ens. G. J. Morgan, Jr. failed to return."
AAIR USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List October 1942 F4F Wildcat 5195 piloted by Morgan
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George J. Morgan Jr.
FindAGrave - LtJG George J Morgan (tablets of the missing)
George J Morgan, Jr (memorial marker (Palisado Cemetery)
First Team and The Guadalcanal Campaign Ambush [October 2, 1942 mission]
Guadalcanal Tome I pages 305-310 (U.S. pilots page 306, Japanese pilots 309)
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May 22, 2017