Robert K. Morgan

Robert Knight Morgan (July 31, 1918 – May 15, 2004) was a colonel and a Command Pilot in the United States Air Force from Asheville, North Carolina. During World War II, while a captain in the United States Army Air Forces, Morgan was a bomber pilot with the 8th Air Force in the European theater and the aircraft commander of the famous B-17 Flying Fortress, Memphis Belle, flying 25 missions. After completing his European tour, Morgan flew another 26 combat missions in the B-29 Superfortress against Japan in the Pacific Theater.

Robert K. Morgan
Major Robert Morgan, was pilot of B-29 Superfortress "Dauntless Dotty" and B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle"
BornJuly 31, 1918
Asheville, North Carolina
DiedMay 15, 2004 (aged 85)
Asheville, North Carolina
Western Carolina Veterans Cemetery
Swannanoa, North Carolina
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchUS Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg United States Army Air Forces
Years of service1940–1965
RankUS-O6 insignia.svg Colonel (US)
Unit91st Bombardment Group ("The Ragged Irregulars")
Commands heldMemphis Belle
Dauntless Dotty
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsDistinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Flying Cross (3)
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Medal (11)


Morgan attended the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania and entered the Army Air Corps in 1940. He earned his pilot wings and was commissioned a second lieutenant on December 12, 1941, then after advanced training at Walla Walla Army Air Base, Washington, was assigned to the 91st Bomb Group (RAF Bassingbourn approximately 3 mi (5 km) north of Royston), 324th Bomb Squadron as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot. Morgan went overseas as part of the original group of combat crews and flew 25 combat missions over Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and France, between November 7, 1942, and May 17, 1943.

Memphis Belle

The Memphis Belle was the second heavy bomber in the Eighth Air Force to complete 25 combat missions in the European Theatre; and was the first to return to the United States as part of a publicity campaign to sell war bonds.[1] In those missions, all of which were daylight raids, the Memphis Belle flew 148 hours, dropped more than 60 tons of bombs and had every major part of the plane replaced at least once. Morgan and his crew were the subjects of a 1944 film documentary, Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress.


Promoted to major, Morgan did a second combat tour commanding the 869th Bomb Squadron, 497th Bomb Group of the Twentieth Air Force in the Pacific Theater where he flew the B-29 Superfortress Dauntless Dotty from Isley Field, Saipan. The aircraft was nicknamed after his third wife, Dorothy Johnson Morgan. On November 24, 1944, he led the first mission of the XXI Bomber Command to bomb Japan, 110 aircraft of the 73rd Bomb Wing to Tokyo, with wing commander Brigadier General Emmett O'Donnell, Jr. as co-pilot. He completed 26 missions over Japan until being sent home on April 24, 1945.

Leaving active duty after World War II, he continued to fly in the Air Force Reserve, achieving command pilot status. Among his military awards were the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters. He retired from the Air Force Reserve with the rank of colonel in 1965.

In 2001 Morgan published his autobiography, The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle: Memoir of a WWII Bomber Pilot, co-written with Ron Powers ISBN 0-525-94610-1.


Morgan was hospitalized April 22, 2004, with a fractured vertebra in his neck after falling outside the Asheville Regional Airport while returning home from what would be his last airshow appearance at the Sun 'n' Fun airshow at Lakeland Linder International Airport in Lakeland, Florida. He died at Mission Hospital on May 15, 2004, from complications due to his injuries, including pneumonia. Morgan was buried at the Western Carolina Veterans Cemetery in Swannanoa, North Carolina.

Awards and Decorations


Command Pilot Badge
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon
Silver oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Air Medal ribbon
AF Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon American Defense Service Medal ribbon
American Campaign Medal ribbon
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal ribbon
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon
World War II Victory Medal ribbon
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Longevity Service ribbon
AFRM with Hourglass Device
Distinguished Flying Cross 3d Award
Air Medal 11th Award Air Force Presidential Unit Citation American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal 3 campaigns European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal 5 campaigns
World War II Victory Medal Air Force Longevity Service Award 4th Award Armed Forces Reserve Medal 10 years


  1. ^ The "Hell's Angels" B-17 (41-24577) of the 303rd Bomb Group completed 25 combat missions on May 13, 1943, becoming the first B-17 to complete the feat, one week before the Memphis Belle. "B-17 Flying Fortress". United States Air Force. Archived from the original on 2012-07-19. Retrieved 2008-05-30.

External links

91st Bombardment Group

The 91st Bomb Group (Heavy) was an air combat unit of the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War. Classified as a heavy bombardment group, the 91st operated B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft and was known unofficially as "The Ragged Irregulars" or as "Wray's Ragged Irregulars", after the commander who took the group to England. During its service in World War II the unit consisted of the 322nd, 323rd, 324th, and 401st Bomb Squadrons. The 91st Bomb Group is most noted as the unit in which the bomber Memphis Belle flew, and for having suffered the greatest number of losses of any heavy bomb group in World War II.

The 91st Bomb Group conducted 340 bombing missions with the Eighth Air Force over Europe, operating out of RAF Bassingbourn. Inactivated at the end of the war, the group was brought back in 1947 as a reconnaissance group of the United States Air Force, and then had its lineage and honors bestowed on like-numbered wings of the Strategic Air Command, the Air Force Space Command and the Air Force Global Strike Command.

From 1 July 1947, until its drawdown in February 1952, the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Group provided worldwide surveillance, flying RB-29s, RB-45s and RB-47s as a subordinate component of the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, consisting of the 322nd, 323rd, and 324th Strategic Recon Squadrons, and the 91st Air Refueling Squadron (Medium). The group was inactivated on 28 May 1952, as part of an SAC-wide termination of groups as an organizational echelon, while the wing and all subordinate units remained active until 8 November 1957.

The group was activated in 1991 as the 91st Operations Group. Between 1991 and 1994, and since 1996, the 91st Operations Group, initially as part of the 91st Space Wing, and since renamed the 91st Missile Wing, maintains the alert force of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles maintained at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. Its three missile squadrons, however, have no traditional link to the 91st Bomb Group and were previously part of the 455th Strategic Missile Wing and 455th Bomb Group.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engined heavy bomber developed in the 1930s for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). Competing against Douglas and Martin for a contract to build 200 bombers, the Boeing entry (prototype Model 299/XB-17) outperformed both competitors and exceeded the air corps' performance specifications. Although Boeing lost the contract (to the Douglas B-18 Bolo) because the prototype crashed, the air corps ordered 13 more B-17s for further evaluation. From its introduction in 1938, the B-17 Flying Fortress evolved through numerous design advances, becoming the third-most produced bomber of all time, behind the four-engined B-24 and the multirole, twin-engined Ju 88.

The B-17 was primarily employed by the USAAF in the daylight strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial and military targets. The United States Eighth Air Force, based at many airfields in central, eastern and southern England, and the Fifteenth Air Force, based in Italy, complemented the RAF Bomber Command's nighttime area bombing in the Combined Bomber Offensive to help secure air superiority over the cities, factories and battlefields of Western Europe in preparation for the invasion of France in 1944. The B-17 also participated to a lesser extent in the War in the Pacific, early in World War II, where it conducted raids against Japanese shipping and airfields.From its prewar inception, the USAAC (by June 1941, the USAAF) promoted the aircraft as a strategic weapon; it was a relatively fast, high-flying, long-range bomber with heavy defensive armament at the expense of bombload. It developed a reputation for toughness based upon stories and photos of badly damaged B-17s safely returning to base. The B-17 dropped more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft in World War II. Of approximately 1.5 million tons of bombs dropped on Nazi Germany and its occupied territories by U.S. aircraft, over 640,000 tons were dropped from B-17s. In addition to its role as a bomber, the B-17 was also employed as a transport, antisubmarine aircraft, drone controller, and search-and-rescue aircraft.

As of October 2019, 9 aircraft remain airworthy, though none of them were ever flown in combat. Dozens more are in storage or on static display. The oldest of these is a D-series flown in combat in the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Dauntless Dotty

Dauntless Dotty is the nickname of a Boeing B-29-40-BW Superfortress during the Second World War that led the first B-29 raid on Tokyo on 24 November 1944, the first bombing attack of the Japanese capital since the Doolittle Raid on 18 April 1942.

Memphis Belle (aircraft)

Memphis Belle is a Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress used during the Second World War that inspired the making of two motion pictures: a 1944 documentary film, Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, and a 1990 Hollywood feature film, Memphis Belle. The aircraft was one of the first United States Army Air Forces B-17 heavy bombers to complete 25 combat missions. The aircraft and crew then returned to the United States to sell war bonds. In 2005, restoration began on the aircraft at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio where, from May 2018, it is on display.

Robert Hanson (United States Army Air Forces)

Robert John Hanson (May 25, 1920 – October 1, 2005) served on board the B-17 bomber aircraft the Memphis Belle during the Second World War.

Robert Morgan

Robert Morgan may refer to:

Robert Morgan (actor), Australian actor

Rob Morgan (actor), American actor

Robert Morgan (bishop) (1608–1673), bishop of Bangor

Robert Morgan (British politician) (1880–1960), British Conservative Party politician

Robert Morgan (poet) (born 1944), American poet, short story writer and novelist

Robert Burren Morgan (1925–2016), U.S. Senator from North Carolina

Robert C. Morgan (born 1943), American art critic, author, and artist

Robert Clark Morgan (1798–1864), sailor

Robert Craig-Morgan (born 1964), British actor

Robert Dale Morgan (1912–2002), U.S. federal judge

Robert Huw Morgan (born 1967), Welsh-born musician

Robert K. Morgan (1918–2004), decorated U.S. Air Force colonel and pilot, commander of Memphis Belle

Robert Lewis Morgan (born 1952), member of the New Jersey General Assembly, 2004–2006

Robert W. Morgan (1937–1998), American disc jockey and Radio Hall of Famer

Robert Morgan (animator) (born 1974), directed in Bobby Yeah in 2011

Robert J. Morgan (1826–1899), American lawyer, planter and Confederate veteran

Robert Nesta Morgan (born 1981), Jamaican senator

Rob Morgan, founder and lead vocalist of The Squirrels

Rob Morgan, former racing driver who competed in the NASCAR Truck Series from 1997-2001 and then in Grand-Am from 2002-2007

Woodward Field (airport)

Woodward Field (IATA: CDN, ICAO: KCDN, FAA LID: CDN) is a county-owned public-use airport located three nautical miles (6 km) northeast of the central business district of Camden, a city in Kershaw County, South Carolina, United States. It is also known as the Kershaw County Airport. The airport serves the general aviation community, with no scheduled commercial airline service.


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