MORTON, WILLIAM ACE "BILLY"
MORTON, WILLIAM ACE "BILLY"
Rank / Branch:
SGT E-5, U.S. ARMY
25TH INFANTRY DIVISI
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE SMALL ARMS F
Awards & Decorations:
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WILLIAM ACE BILLY MORTON, SERGEANT, U.S. ARMY, SWEETWATER, NOLAN COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Combat Infantryman's Badge, Silver Star, Bronze Star with "V" device and 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal, Army Commendation's Medal with "V" device and 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal
Billy was the oldest of two sons born to Eunice Hazel Darnell Morton and A.C. Morton. Devaughn Franklin Morton, his brother, was born several years later. He was known as "Wild Bill" to his family and friends. He attended Sweetwater Schools and was active in the Sweetwater High School band. He played trombone. He was active in the Highland Heights Methodist Church of Sweetwater as a member and Youth Director. He also cleaned up the church after services. He graduated from Sweetwater High School in 1964.
Sweetwater High School, Class of 64
He worked in the Sweetwater area after high school. He enlisted in the Army on June 4, 1968, before his 22nd birthday, in order to complete his military service. He completed basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas and AIT in infantry at Fort Ord, California.
Billy with cousins in 1959
He began his first tour in Vietnam November 17, 1968. He was assigned as an infantryman with the 25th Infantry Division. He was wounded on March 1, 1969 and went through a six month rehabilitation stateside at Fort Sam Houston, Tx and at Fort Ord, California.
According to his aunt, Bill was devoted to his family and always made sure that they received gifts from him during X-mas, birthdays, mother and father's day. He would always send gifts to his nephews and nieces. He had a special bond to his next door neighbors, Bill and Joyce Armstrong and he would sent them money in order to make sure that his parents had a gift for some special occasion.
His younger brother was serving in the U.S. Navy when Billy was recovering from his wounds, so in effort to keep his brother out of Vietnam, he requested a second tour in Vietnam. He began that tour on October 4, 1969. He returned to the 25th Division and was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment as a squad leader. He was killed when the U.S. military entered the Cambodian sanctuaries in a massive operation in May 1970. He died from gunshot and multiple fragment wounds on June 5, 1970. For his actions which resulted in his death, he was awarded the Silver Star. Under heavy fire, with total disregard for his own safety, he dashed across the battlefield and was attempting to pull a comrade out of the hostile fire zone when he was mortally wounded.
SON KILLED IN CAMBODIA
Decorations Are Presented Posthumously to Mortons
By Joe Gordon, Editor –Sweetwater Reporter, dtd December 16, 1970
- In a ceremony held recently at the Armed Forces Entrance and Examination Station in Abilene, Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Morton of 710 E. Arkansas, accepted nine awards and 15 decorations posthumously for their late son, Army Sgt. William A.B. Morton, who was killed in action on June 15 in Cambodia. This was a record number of decorations to be given in this area.
The third highest American decoration for valor, the Silver Star, was awarded posthumously for Sgt. Morton’s action in Cambodia last June when he went to the aid of a fallen comrade while under enemy fire. The action cost Sgt. Morton his life.
Following his death his body was brought back to Sweetwater where he was buried with full military honors in the Sweetwater Cemetery on June 17.
At the time of his death, Sgt. Morton was stationed with Co A. 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Division (sic) in Cambodia.
The awards and ribbons were presented to the parents in ceremonies by Capt. Peter Wyro, Army instructor at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.
Among the awards and decorations were Sgt. Morton’s second Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, his third Bronze Star, with two Oak Leaf clusters and a “V” (two of three being for heroism), the Good Conduct Medal and the Sharpshooter badge with rifle and automatic rifle bars.
At the age of 23, Sgt. Morton was killed in action and his name was inscribed later on the monument to war heroes on the Nolan County Courthouse Square.
He had entered the Army on June 4, 1968 and took his basic training at Fort Bliss in El Paso and then left for his first tour of duty in Vietnam on November 17, 1968. He stayed there until March 1, 1969 when he took a convalescent leave at Fort Ord, California and Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. He returned to the Vietnam battlefield on October 1, 1969 for his second tour of duty.
Sgt. Morton, a 1964 Sweetwater High School graduate, has a brother in the U.S. Navy.
He was buried with full military honors in the Sweetwater Cemetery in Sweetwater, Texas. His parents are both deceased and rest in front of him in the Morton family plot. His father, A.C. died in 1994 and his mother died in 1997. His brother discharged from the Navy and currently lives in Florida. His paternal aunt, Frankie Huff lives in Sweetwater and provided much of the information for this tribute. He is also remembered by his niece Carmen, Frankie's daughter. Carmen was the little sister that Billy never had.
Sweetwater Cemetery, Sweetwater, Texas