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Wilkes County Veterans History Project: George Morgan

George Morgan's Photos

George and his family at the VFW post in Wilkesboro, North Carolina (2023).

 (L to R): George, his daughter, Valisia, his current wife, Eva, and his granddaughter, Dominque. 



George and his running team pass the baton during a 52-mile "cross isthmus" (Republic of Panama, 1980).

George's former wife, Alfreda, assists George's battalion commander with pinning his E-8 promotional stripes (Republic of Panama, 1980). 

George during a training break in Georgia (1964). 

After Sunday service at Beavis Chapel Christian Church (North Carolina, 1960).

George (middle) with brother Morgan (R), and friend (L).

George and his family at a military base in Georgia (1976).

Back row: George and his wife, Alfreda

Middle row (L to R): George Jr, Valisia, Millicent

Front row (L to R): Vincent, Kathy, Joyce

George's mother, Maddie Morgan, and three of his children photographed in the early 1970s

 (Zebulon, North Carolina). 

George and his friends in the early 1960s during bible study (Germany). 

George "spit shining" his shoe while preparing for guard duty in the mid-1960s (Hamburg, Germany). 

George beside his firstborn child Millicent (Georgia, 1965). 

George's firstborn child Millicent on her tricycle in the late 1960s (Zebulon, North Carolina).

George and his buddies at a promotional party in Germany (1962). 

George inspecting a combat support company in the early 1980s (Republic of Panama).

George and his former wife, Alfreda, pose for a photo with their firstborn daughter Millicent (1965). 

George beside a company tank during the mid-1960s (Hamburg, Germany).

George poses for a headshot photo.

George poses for a promotional photo in the Republic of Panama during the early 1980s. 

George Morgan's Story, submitted by Granddaughter Nikki Morgan

This will be a first hand recounting of life experiences in

George E Morgan’s life, as it pertains to his upbringing, his service in the United States Army,

and his further ministries.

I have kept everything as he said it; save for a few minor edits to clarify certain points for the readers.

My name is George E Morgan, Sr. 

September 4th, 1940 is when I saw the break of day in a community called Rosinburg, North Carolina.  It is in the area of Zebulon, NC.  I was born the son of a sharecropper.

I grew up, went through all the necessary stages of growth, mischief, and all of those things.  I had six brothers and two sisters.  My dad, the late Doc W. Morgan and my mom the late Maddie M. Morgan.  I forget how long they were married but we had great parents that believed in sending you out to get your switch.  It was only ever once that you would bring back a switch that was not meaningful for the moment, because then they would tell you to sit down and they would go out and replace it with what you thought was a stick… but we had great parents and we all appreciated how they shaped our values through NOT sparing the rod.  Mom taught us to be Christian hearted young men that would grow up knowing how to treat a lady.  I’m sad to say that my father was an alcoholic but I’m grateful that I do not ride on that part of HIS life to say that’s how I should be.  That never was a continuing part of my life. But let me go back to before we were in school:

On the farm, my dad would get Biddies (little chicks) in the mail.  The mailman would come up and we’d hear “chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp” and after a few weeks they were big enough to walk on their own.  So, one day my brothers and I had the great idea to grab, each one of us, a chick in each hand and march around the house holding them by the wing, singing “Oh When the Saints Go Marching In”.  Now, as one would guess, the chicks died and by the time our mom finished with us we did not want any chicken for several months… let alone to abuse the chickens.

But I grew up on a farm with two mules and many acres of cotton, corn, tobacco, and big gardens consisting of watermelons, okra, and cucumbers.  We processed all of that which kept us primarily in our food.  At the age of about ten, dad taught me how to plow.  I was so short that I could barely reach the arm of the plow, but he taught me how to get to the end and turn the mules around and then after he let me plow for a couple of hours he would come out and straighten out the corners… (I had a BIG elbow at the ends where it shoulda been cut square, but he would help me straighten it out and I would continue on.) 

Now I find this in my older years, amazing; I had to get up in the morning, get out, catch the mule, and plow while Daddy took care of some other chores.  I’d come home in the afternoon, I’d take off my school cloths, and I would have to plow again.   And, I still completed school all the way from the 1st grade up to the 12th grade… and I experienced a couple of major transitions in there too.

One of those transitions was when our boss-man bought a small tractor.  And instead of plowing with mules I could sit on the tractor go around the field and accomplish the same thing, only quicker.  I was jumping up and down: “Daddy, let me do it! Daddy let me do it!” My dad showed me how to do this: how to start the tractor, how to take my foot off the clutch, and make the tractor go. 

…Well, about a year before he put me in the field there was woods.  The bulldozer got up all of the stumps and they cleared it off… so they thought.

So, Daddy let me go around a couple times and he went to the house.  About the fourth time around that little ole tractor with the big plow behind it, the same plow that I used to plow the mules with; I’m sitting up there… big shot now, hand on the steering wheel… looking back on what a beautiful plow area I had created.  And all at once the plow hit a stump that they forgot to dig up and that little ole tractor couldn’t take it.  It stood there and the wheels started to spin.  Well, if you ever look at a tractor tire they have big grooves on them so they can dig.  When the wheels would not spin anymore the area of least resistance was at the transmission where the tractor started to rise up.  (In other words: with the tractor in gear, something is going to move).  As the tractor came up on a plain of about 45 degrees, I panicked, I didn’t know what to do.  Daddy was not in the area… so the first thing that came to my mind was what he taught me to do when I wanted the mules to stop… and I hollered “Whooa… “

… the tractor didn’t listen….  “Whoa” was for the mules not the tractor.  But I was going to attempt to jump off and thank God... because when I did my foot slipped and hit the clutch.  By hitting the clutch it freed the drive train, the tractor went back down, and I cut it off.  So, that was a transition I’ll never forget.  Bear in mind, you do not have to dig far to find hundreds of farmers that have died because their machine came back over on them, so that was a miracle that God worked for me.

I’m going to fast-forward a little bit now and carry you with me to the first grade.  Miss Blunt was my teacher at James E. Shepard Elementary and at that time we had cow troughs with spigots outside where you would go, turn the handle, and got water (that’s how you got your water).  Recess was always at 9:30 or 10am…. But I knew how to work the spigot so one day I asked Ms Blunt “can I go out and get some water” and she said yes.  So I walked up there.  Now, the water trough was right under the recess bell… when you had recess they would ring that bell and the whole school could hear it: “GLONG, GLONG, GLONG...’’’ and everybody that was entitled to it would come out and play; dodgeball, running, hopsctch for the girls, and all of that.  Well, when I finished my water I wiped my mouth and when I looked up I was RIGHT under that bell…. I says “WOW. I have a chance to ring the bell…. “  So I grab the bell clapper (the little rope hanging down) and I laid on it. “GLONG, GLON-“ the only problem was that it was 8:30am - GLONG, GLONG, GLONG...  and when I thought I had enough I let it go and started walking back to my room.  At some point, there was a guy standing in the window sharpening his pencil and I heard em say “there he is!”  (And I ask God to forgive me for thinking but to this day if I could’ve found him I would have probably whooped his head with that bell clapper… But I don’t feel that way about him now.).

So when he said “there he is” I looked up and looked around.  When I got to the end of the building to come in Mrs Wilcox, one of the oldest teachers there, met me at the front door and she says “Why did you do that?”

 I said “do what?”

She says “ring that Bell, common down here…”

And I knew she had a knack for whooping you with her walking stick (yeah they didn’t go to jail in those days).  So when she grabbed me by the arm I popped off of one of the pillars that were in the hallway next to the wall.  I made it to one pillar and then to the next; but she was strong… and she succeeded in getting me in her class… pulled me all the way up to the front… made me lay across the end of her desk and… well, the statue of limitation has run out or I probably would report her for abuse… and she whooped me with her walking stick.  From that day on at the regular recess time I didn’t hardly wanna go out because ringing that bell had gotten me in trouble. 

Alright fast-forward.  Moving on through learning my ABC’s, learning my grammar, mathematics, and everything to when I was in the 8th grade.  I should have known better, there was a young lady in there named Eloise Christmas.  I can’t remember why, but for some reason we were making clay models.  And I turned around and I looked at Eloise and I said “I’m the best student in this class because I just made an Anaconda and he will bite.” Everybody looked at me like “George you’re crazy, you’re out of your mind…” but Eloise says “It’ll do what?”

I says, “It will bite…”

She said “you lying…’

(I had curled the snake up and had its head out from the center of its body.  But what she didn’t know is inside of his head, running down thru his neck, I had put a straight pin. You couldn’t see it.)

I says “Eloise, my snake will bite.”

She took me up on it… hit the snake… her mouth came open… she couldn’t say nothing… She lifted up my whole snake and pulled it off because that straight pin went into her hand.

So with all the commotion Mr Mecan says “what’s going on back there…” and with tears in her eyes she told him what I’d done.  He says “Morgan come up here”.  And in front of the class he grabbed the tip of my hand, opened it up, and commenced to wail me with that hand paddle.  So I want you all to know, those of you that know me now; You, yourself, will identify the fact that God made a big change in me.  So anyway, he whooped me and I got through that.

Now, all the way up to the 8th grade, through the 9th grade, on through high school I lived 3 miles from the Carpenters.   And when I got into high school, in the 9th grade, I was kind of fond of a little Carpenter girl named Alfreda.  Didn’t call myself dating, she had a twin brother named Alphonzo, so I would go over on weekends and tell momma “I’m going to play basketball with Alphonzo”.  That happened for about one year and then I come in one week night, on Wednesday night, and I says “Momma, I got all my work done a couple hours before dark, I’d like to go play basketball with Alphonzo.”  My momma was a wise woman… she says “are you playing ball with Alphonzo or talking to Alfreda?!”  Well I couldn’t fool my momma so I would, to not lie to her, go shoot one basket and then go sit on the porch.  Yep, talking to my future wife, Alfreda.

We went through the traditional date-courtship, I got my license, we’d go to Dairy Queen… get ice cream, come on up, and then in 1958 we graduated. In ’59 I worked one more year on the farm and asked my mother if there was something else that I could do?  She says “Have you tried the Army?” 

So I went to Raleigh, tested, passed, and the next day I was on my way to Fort Benning, Ga. just that quick.  This was in September of 1959.  At Fort Benning I took basic training and while in basic training they were going to send me to Korea but I had heard that Korea was not a good assignment… I only had two years to do but I signed up for one more year and told them I’d take that year in Germany.  So instead of going to Korea I now had three years to do and I went to Germany.  I called my fiancé and told her that I was going to Germany.  She came to the train station in Raleigh where the train briefly stopped.  I waved at her.  And for two years we didn’t get to see each other but we communicated constantly by letter.  At the end of two years I was supposed to rotate (meaning come back from Germany to the States) I write the letter: “when I get back we’re gonna get married”.  But at the end of two years I had to take on one more year because that’s when Russia sent missiles to Cuba and President Kennedy said “I’m not gonna have this…” … it was the Bay of Pigs operation, the Cuban Missile Crisis.  So I was getting ready to leave Germany, had my bag packed getting ready to throw it in the truck when 1st Sergeant says “Morgan! Come here, bring your bag.”  I didn’t know what was going on… And he said: “The President just extended you for another year.”  So I had to stay another year.  Now, of course, my fiancé thought I had found someone over there and they were keeping me another year but that wasn’t true.

When I got back home I came back on ship.  I got off in New York, caught a bus, threw my bag underneath the bus, got on the bus, and didn’t even close my eyes all the way from New York to Zebulon.  I was coming home to see my sweetheart.  When I got to Zebulon and we went down the road past her house, I pulled the little chain, the driver stopped, I got out, got my bags, and I heard the door slam way up on the hill… she knew I was coming.  She ran out like a little princess charging down the hill… and I made it look like a Walt Disney scene.  I dropped my bag and it was slow motion until we met in the middle of the path.  I picked her up, spun her around, and a few seconds seemed like an hour, but that was a great meeting.   And I shared with her then, I got out of the Army because I did not want to be connected to the Army and give her a choice between the Army or me.  So she only had to make that choice with me.  And I says: “How would you like to marry a soldier?”

She says: ‘That’s all I ever wanted to do” and BAM 2 days later I was back in the Army.

So, back in the Army… this was in the early part of 1962.  We set our wedding date and we got married on December 15, 1962.  I was stationed in Georgia and there we lived till 1965.  In ’65 the war was getting heated up in Vietnam.  My unit, the 1st Cav went to airborne school, qualified me to jump out of planes, and then after airborne school I had to take my family home, put them up/secure them, come back to Georgia and get ready to go to Vietnam.  When we got ready for Vietnam we went to Fort Stewart, Ga.  Over 3000 of us were loaded on this one ship and the bunks were stacked up 12 high… so you did not fall out of bed or else you could get seriously hurt.

Now, it took us 30 days on the water to get to Vietnam.  Once we got to Vietnam, we got off the ship, got in a helicopter, and went to a place called An Khê.  In An Khê we got setup and there we had our first major encounter.  We lost a lot of troops and in that first encounter was where I was wounded.  We were in Vietnam and I was in charge of twelve men.  We were tired that day in the rice patties and I made sure that my men had security out and I made sure that everybody had a place to sleep.  But I did not look out for myself.  I was tired, I was ready to lay down, find me a rice dike, and prop my head up.  A voice said to me “sleep with you head THAT way” (that was downhill).  I was so tired that I did not argue, but I thought about it “why would I have to sleep with my head downhill?”  This was at about 11pm.  At about 1am that morning, the enemy broke through our lines and fired heavy mortars.  Our people were hollering, screaming, and getting hit and all at once, I felt something.  A round went off and shrapnel went through the top of my left boot and into my foot. 

But what if I had not listened?! It would have been my head… so I believe God lines us up, takes care of us, but we need to listen to the spirit when it speaks.

Now, even though that happened I never told anybody in the field cause I didn’t want no award or nothing.  I have my Purple Heart now, but I did not report that because I did not want them to send me in, I wanted to stay there with my troops…  So since I had mud all over my boot and you couldn’t hardly see the blood I stayed there for another week until one of my leaders saw me hoping.  He said “Morgan, what’s wrong with you?”  And when I showed it to him my wound had almost turned to gangrene.  It was bad and I could have lost my whole foot.  But, thank God I got treated back well again and walking normal.

Later on that same year we had another encounter that was major.  And I had adopted my squad leader as my ‘big brother’.  Since I was the big brother, I wanted a big brother for myself.  But in that encounter it devastated me because he was killed less than 35 yards in front of me.

So at the completion of that tour I came back to the states and because of what we went through many of us had to go through a period of evaluation, and I did too.  We went thru a period of evaluation at Walter Reed.  God blessed. I recovered from all the trauma and in 1968 I went back to Germany.  Two years in Germany, they call me to go back to Vietnam. But before I went back to Vietnam, they sent me to Kansas to train me how to eat with chopsticks and, well… I flunked that course, so I never made it through that one.

But, I went back to Vietnam for another whole year with a higher rank.  After that year in Vietnam I came back to the states, around 1973.

I went to Fort Benning, Ga where I became an instructor teaching other infantry soldiers.  After teaching solders at Fort Benning, I made another rank and had the opportunity to go to the Sergeant Major academy.  I went to the academy in Fort Bliss, TX; passed the academy and went to Panama where I became the First Sergeant to a combat super company.  While in Panama, they were going to reassign me to somewhere else and I said “Nope, I think I’ve been in long enough…” so I searched out and found me a job at North Carolina A&T State University.  When I arrived in 1982 I became an instructor and worked there from ’82 to ’85.  In 1985, they were going to reassign me and I put in my papers to retire.  I retired from the military in 1985.

I guess you could label some of the things that I endured as “frightful”.  There was one time when they dropped my planeload of troops ten minutes early and we all landed in the trees.  While in Germany, one of my duty stations allowed me to observe the boarder of Czechoslovakia and I’ve been into Czechoslovakia when it was under the Communist rule. One day on patrol, it was snowing.  The road was slippery and my driver made a missed turn and turned the Jeep over. I had so many winter clothes I couldn’t get out, so the Jeep laid on the side.  But my driver was afraid of me; we called him “Horse”, and that day he proved it.  He got out and set that Jeep back up!  Now, I was not mean… but that day he drove a little bit further down the road and did the same thing again… so by about that time I was bout ready to whoop him upside the head but we survived that.

I have been in helicopters that tried to take off and the load was so heavy that the bottom of it hit pine trees but God blessed and spared us in that too.

There were many moments like that.  And a lot of the realization come later in life.  I guess, at the time, I was trying to be both saved and worldly. But, I was the Chaplin assistant and I never forgot my foundation of spirituality and so along with that (and I wish people would see this today) I drew on my knowledge of spirituality while in Vietnam.  One day I was part of a long-range patrol.  Eleven men, going out, with no other solders around, for perhaps 50-60 miles or so to gather information on the enemy.  Well… we ran across North Vietnamese (regulars)… over 100 of them and it was only 11 of us (and I was in the group of 11).  We had a secret code that we could call for our helicopter to come but we ran into them and everybody opened fire.  Right away two of our guys got wounded.  It was dry and every time you put your foot down you’d hear the walk, *crunch, *crunch, *crunch.  After we got some distance, I remember saying “Lord, we need some rain.” But I also thought that GOD didn’t hear your prayers unless you closed your eyes. That’s not true but back then I done that a lot…. Even when I started driving I’d close my eyes and say a quick prayer.

Remembering that, while we were walking towards where the helicopter was coming I wanted to pray. I says “Lord, (I remembered Eliza, he prayed that it wouldn’t rain…then he prayed and it rained).  I says” “we need some rain”.  And I’ll tell anybody, at 22 years old tears was in my eyes because a hundred North Vietnamese was pursuing us.  When I looked up, within a matter of seconds, huge raindrops were falling from the sky.  And in the jungle it takes a while for the water to come through the canopy but that water came down, wet the ground, and you could not hear a step that we took.  And we had to go about a mile or so with two wounded soldiers. That was major in my life and I am thankful that God blessed and has kept me through it all.

Bishop George E. Morgan is a retired United States Army Sergeant Major and a graduate of the United States Army Sergeant Major Academy of Fort Bliss, Texas.   He began his career as an assistant to Elder Harriston, in Maitz, Germany, from 1968-1970.  He was then assigned with his second tour of Duty in the Republic of Vietnam for one year (1971).  During that time, he established a Bible study in base camp. 

After serving in the Pentecostal Deliverance Church as an Associated Pastor in Fort Benning Georgia and El Paso, Texas, Bishop Morgan made his way to Wilkesboro, NC where he became the pastor of New Direction Ministries in 1982.  Bishop Morgan also worked at Elon College & North Carolina A&T State University teaching military science.  Being obedient to the word of God, which reads “Study to show thyself approved,” he returned to school where he received an Associates Arts degree from Guilford Technical Community College and a Sociology degree in 1999 from North Carolina A&T.

Bishop Morgan has been a lifetime member of the DAV and Honor Guard for the VFW Post 1142.   He is a recipient of the Purple Heart from wounds he received in Vietnam.  He has worked with the Disaster Relief Effort in Biloxi, Mississippi from November 2005- March 2006 as a representative for the Church of God Apostolic.

Bishop Morgan has the “CAN DO” approach and devotion to his duties, a result of his commitment to God. This attitude has allowed him to be qualified to teach several classes such as Counseling/Interpersonal communication skills, Drug & Alcohol, Problem Analysis, and Foster Parent Care.  He is active with the prison system within Wilkesboro.