2012/03/13 - S.French
From the Ft. Knox, KY newspaper "The Gold Standard", Tuesday, March 13, 2012.
Originally published here -
Last Harrodsburg Tanker dies at age 92, buried with military honors
at Hardin cemetery
Friday, March 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm (Updated: March 9, 5:13 pm)
By CLINT MESHEW
Fort Knox Veterans Services
Morgan French, a true American hero, was the last surviving member of
the Harrodsburg Tankers.
Morgan and his wife Maxine resided in Radcliff for 48 years until his
Alzheimer's disease became so severe that his sons moved him and his
wife to Plano, Texas where they lived out their lives. Maxine passed
away on Sept. 8, 2009 and was returned to Radcliff for her final
tribute and interment.
I think we should all know who Morgan French was; you see, his funeral
brought out 31 Kentucky National Guardsmen who participated to insure
that Morgan received full military honors for his service to our
beloved nation. The Kentucky National Guard contingent included
Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini (the Adjutant General of the KY National
Guard) who had the honor of presenting the American Flag to Morgan's
I had the distinct honor of delivering Morgan's eulogy at Vine Grove
Baptist Church last Friday.
Many have read Morgan's obituary in the Kentucky newspapers but for
those of you who did not have an opportunity, here are some
interesting facts concerning the hero Morgan French.
Morgan and the other men of Company D, 192nd Tank Battalion (The
Harrodsburg Tankers) fought in the delaying action on the Bataan
peninsula; he was captured by the Japanese on May 10, 1942 and spent
40 months as a prisoner of war where he endured unimaginable torture
At one formation during his captivity the guards were drawing pistols,
walking up to prisoners in ranks and at random firing point blank into
their heads killing them.
Morgan knew he was about to die but as he looked up he saw a Japanese
soldier throw an American Flag to the muddy ground and stomp on it;
this was too much for Morgan to bear. He broke ranks, pushed the
Japanese soldier away from the flag, picked it up and clutched it to
his chest. The Japanese soldier pulled his pistol and aimed at
Morgan's head preparing to end his life. A Japanese officer grasped
the soldier's arm and lowered his pistol, not allowing Morgan's life
to end that day. The Japanese officer understood the courage that
Morgan had displayed in retrieving the American flag. He understood
that Morgan was a man of courage and honor and allowed him to survive.
Morgan was liberated by Allied Forces on September 10, 1945 and
returned to the United States but after medical convalescence,
returned to active duty in the U.S. Army. He served two tours of duty
in Korea during the Korean War and retired from the Army in 1962 after
23 years of service.
After retirement from the Army Morgan worked as an instructor at the
U.S. Army Armor School at Fort Knox and retired from Civil Service in
Morgan passed away on Feb. 24 at age 92 and today rests beside his
beloved Maxine at Hardin Memorial Gardens.