All American Awards & Engraving Soldier Spotlight: Joseph Morth, Jr.

303899_189997701082466_1028648607_nJoseph Morth, Jr., father of Franklin resident Maure O’Neil, served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Name: Joseph Morth, Jr.

Born: July 6, 1925

Hometown: New London, CT

High School: Chapman Technical High School

Branch: U.S. Army

Rank: Private First Class

Joined the service in: 1943

Joseph Morth, Jr. was drafted into the Army right after graduating from Chapman Technical High School in 1943. Morth was one of roughly 10 million Americans drafted into service during World War II.

Like many drafted into service, Morth recalls that adapting to life in the military was challenging.

On his first night at boot camp, the Drill Sergent woke all of the new recruits up in the middle of the night. With little clothing on at the time, Morth pulled on an overcoat and went outside as the Sergent instructed.

“It was freezing outside that night,” said Morth. “Once we were all outside, the Sergent in charge told us to drop our coats.”

After months training at several locations in the United States including Ft. Benning and Ft. Meade, Morth was sent to the European Theatre in September of 1944. Morth landed in Normandy and joined the 80th Infantry Division in northern France.

Morth calls his first night in France a “harrowing experience.”

“I had no weapon, no nothing that first night,” recalls Morth. “My commander said we were going to have scrounge for something because I was supposed to be on guard duty that night.”

Morth was placed on guard duty with a soldier who did have a weapon so the two could switch off. However, the soldier he was paired with became sick and Morth ended completing the entire eight hour shift by himself.

The next morning, after no sleep, Morth’s unit began to move in pursuit of the Germans.

After crossing a river on foot, Morth and his fellow soldiers marched for nine days in pursuit of the retreating Germans.

Once Morth had a chance to take his boots off, doctors discovered he had a case of trench feet – a medical condition caused by prolonged exposure of the feet to damp, unsanitary, cold conditions.

Morth was sent to England to recover before returning to the front for the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944.

Morth’s unit eventually joined General George Patton and other divisions of the Third Army as they advanced through Germany and eventually into Czechoslovakia.

In April of 1945, Morth participated in the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp located near Weimar, Germany.

“We saved nearly 55,000 lives sentenced to the crematory,” said Morth.

Morth counts participating in the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp – for which he was awarded the Bronze Star – and meeting General Patton at a mock demonstration as two of his most memorable moments during his service.

At the conclusion of the war in May of 1945, Morth was one of 45 remaining of the original 280 in his unit that hadn’t been killed or wounded in combat.

Morth was then stationed in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia for some time while he waited to be sent back to the United States.

After returning to the United States, Morth worked in a bakery and later building submarines in New London.

He applied for college and obtained a degree in Math from Mitchell College.

Morth married his wife Mary in 1950, and the two had three children – two girls and one boy.

He currently resides in Erie at the VA Medical Center. He will turn 90-years-old this July.

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All American Awards and Engraving is located on U.S. 322 in Shippenville. The company specializes in Embroidery, Screen Printing, all kinds of awards, trophies, engraving, unique gifts and more. As the company motto says, We can put “Almost Anything on Almost Everything”.

They can be found online at www.allamericanhq.com or www.facebook.com/AllAmericanAwardsandEngraving or by calling toll free 1-877-402-9273 and ask for Jim Carroll.


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