After learning of son’s birth, a father nearly loses his own life

Vietnam vet shot 10 times

August 9, 2013

Katie Mingle

(Photo courtesy of StoryCorps)
Barbara and Jack Morgan with their daughter, Kelli Morgan-McHugh

When Jack Morgan left to fight in the Vietnam War in 1966, he broke up with his girlfriend, fearing he might not come home alive.

Then he found out she was pregnant, and the Marines allowed him a very short leave to come home and get married. Just two days after the wedding, Morgan had to return to Vietnam, knowing he might never have the chance to meet his son.

Jack Morgan visited the Chicago Storycorps booth with his wife, Barbara, and their daughter, Kelli Morgan-McHugh, to tell his story.

Jack: After a while over there in Vietnam, you just quit worrying about it. You accepted the fact that you were gonna die.

Kelli: Did you talk about that?

StoryCorps’s mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. This excerpt was edited by WBEZ.

Jack: No.

Barbara: There’s things that you just don’t talk about. You know there’s ... you make preparations in your heart and in your mind.

Jack: I did sign over my insurance, so at least she would have that. But that’s all I had.

Jack returned to Vietnam to fight in the war. He remembers one night when all of the men were gathered around.

Jack: We’d been mortared really bad all that day. We hadn’t eaten for two days, because every chopper that would come in, they’d shoot it down ... We heard a chopper coming in … This guy had flown in harm’s way, under fire, to bring me a telegram telling me that Chris had been born … The next day we went out on patrol and that’s when I got shot.

To find out what happened next, click on the audio above.

Katie Mingle is a producer for WBEZ and the Third Coast Festival.