Charles B Morris
Charles was born in Carroll County, Virginia, on the 29th of December, 1931 and graduated from Coal Creek High School before being drafted into the US Army at the age of 21 in 1952. He went to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri for Basic Training and then briefly served in the Korean War but it was Charles' actions during the Vietnam War with Company A, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate), that would earn him the Medal of Honor. The citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Seeing indications of the enemy's presence in the area, S/Sgt. Morris deployed his squad and continued forward alone to make a reconnaissance. He unknowingly crawled within 20 meters of an enemy machinegun, whereupon the gunner fired, wounding him in the chest. S/Sgt. Morris instantly returned the fire and killed the gunner. Continuing to crawl within a few feet of the gun, he hurled a grenade and killed the remainder of the enemy crew. Although in pain and bleeding profusely, S/Sgt. Morris continued his reconnaissance. Returning to the platoon area, he reported the results of his reconnaissance to the platoon leader. As he spoke, the platoon came under heavy fire. Refusing medical attention for himself, he deployed his men in better firing positions confronting the entrenched enemy to his front. Then for 8 hours the platoon engaged the numerically superior enemy force. Withdrawal was impossible without abandoning many wounded and dead. Finding the platoon medic dead, S/Sgt. Morris administered first aid to himself and was returning to treat the wounded members of his squad with the medic's first aid kit when he was again wounded. Knocked down and stunned, he regained consciousness and continued to treat the wounded, reposition his men, and inspire and encourage their efforts. Wounded again when an enemy grenade shattered his left hand, nonetheless he personally took up the fight and armed and threw several grenades which killed a number of enemy soldiers. Seeing that an enemy machinegun had maneuvered behind his platoon and was delivering the fire upon his men, S/Sgt. Morris and another man crawled toward the gun to knock it out. His comrade was killed and S/Sgt. Morris sustained another wound, but, firing his rifle with 1 hand, he silenced the enemy machinegun. Returning to the platoon, he courageously exposed himself to the devastating enemy fire to drag the wounded to a protected area, and with utter disregard for his personal safety and the pain he suffered, he continued to lead and direct the efforts of his men until relief arrived. Upon termination of the battle, important documents were found among the enemy dead revealing a planned ambush of a Republic of Vietnam battalion. Use of this information prevented the ambush and saved many lives. S/Sgt. Morris' gallantry was instrumental in the successful defeat of the enemy, saved many lives, and was in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.
Charles was later promoted to Staff Sergeant and received the Medal of Honor from President Johnson in a ceremony at the White House on the 14th of December, 1967. He stayed in the Army until 1981, when he retired as a Sergeant Major. Charles had sent his official Medal of Honor photo to a close Vietnam Veteran friend, Michael Thibault, and had written, "I will never write my story. I will not sell anything to the TV and movie vultures, even though I had a few minor offers .... I did receive the Medal of Honor for the action, but did nothing heroic that I remember." Charles Bedford Morris died at the age of 64 on the 22nd of August, 1996 and is buried in the Morris Cemetery in Fancy Gap, Virginia.