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John David Morton
Sergeant First Class,  United States Army
Kentucky State Flag
NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1304-05 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Decmber 16, 2005 
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry(703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sergeant First Class John D. Morton, 31, of Stanton, Kentucky, died in Shah Wali Kot, Afghanistan on December 15, 2005, when his dismounted patrol came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire.  Morton was assigned to the 74th Infantry Detachment (Long Range Surveillance), 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vicenza, Italy.

For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.


Kentucky soldier killed in combat
Unit was attacked in Afghanistan 
By Alan Maimon
Courtesy of The Courier-Journal

JD Morton PHOTO

A soldier from Eastern Kentucky was killed in Afghanistan when his patrol came under small-arms fire, the Pentagon said yesterday.

Sergeant First Class John D. Morton, 31, of Stanton, had enlisted while he was still in high school, Morton's father said last night.

His death shocked the family.

"Oh my goodness, you can't imagine it," said Jerome Morton, 64, a retired carpenter. "I still have trouble believing it."

John Morton died Thursday in Shah Wali Kot, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 74th Infantry Detachment (Long Range Surveillance), 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy.

Morton was married and had three children, Jerome Morton said.

The younger Morton enlisted in the Army as a senior at Powell County High School in 1992, his father said.

"He was pretty much set on what he wanted to do," said Jerome Morton. "It took him all over the world -- Somalia, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan."

Morton was due back in Italy in January, his father said.

In September, during a two-week leave in Italy, Morton saw the birth of his third child, a daughter, his father said. His other children are an 8-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl. He also is survived by his mother, Pearl, and two sisters.

Jerome Morton said military officials told him that his son's patrol was on a mission in the mountainous area around Kandahar when they were confronted by Taliban fighters. "They were on foot, and the enemy saw them first," Jerome Morton said. "John was hit in the chest."

On the day of his death, Morton had written his parents an e-mail thanking them for sending him a book about the Civil War.

"I don't know if he got a chance to read it all or not," Jerome Morton said. "He said they were getting ready to go out on another mission."

Morton had planned to spend about seven more years in the military before going into teaching, his father said. He said his son will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Jerome Morton said he hoped his son's death would refocus attention on the fighting in Afghanistan. "It seems Afghanistan has been forgotten," he said. "It's still not safe there."



20 December 2005:

An eastern Kentucky soldier killed in Afghanistan will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery and have memorial services in Virginia and Kentucky, a funeral director said Tuesday.

Sergeant First Class John D. Morton, 31, of Stanton, was killed earlier this month when his patrol came under attack by Taliban soldiers in the mountainous area around Kandahar.

Morton's first service will be at 1 p.m. on December 28, 2005, at Murphy Funeral Home in Arlington, said Carl Wells Sr., director of Wells Funeral Home in Stanton. Burial will follow at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Kentucky service will be at 2 p.m. EST, Dec. 31 at Bowen First Church of God in Stanton. Wells said that service is open to the public.



The last time Paula Noel communicated with her brother, she told him that members of her church considered him a hero for his commitment to being a United States soldier.

Sergeant First Class John Morton, a 31-year-old soldier from Stanton, Kentucky, e-mailed his sister back and said 'no, you're only called a hero if you don't come home alive.'

Morton finalized his status as a United States hero when he was killed on December 15, 2005, in Afghanistan after his patrol was confronted by Taliban fighters.

The Pentagon said that Morton's patrol came under small-arms fire while on a mission in the mountainous area around Kandahar. Morton was a member of the 74th Infantry Detachment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Italy.

Morton's wife, 29-year-old Sarah Morton and the couple's three children; Joshua, 8, Scarlette, 6, and Olivia, 3-months, are stationed in Italy.

Morton was in Italy with his wife and two children when his youngest daughter was born in October. He had a two-week leave to be by Sarah's side during delivery. Noel said that was the last time he saw his wife and three children. 

Noel said the Army has invited Morton's family to stay in Italy for up to a year while they decide where they will relocate.

"She's a very strong woman," Noel said of her sister-in-law. "I think John's long deployments helped prepare her for this. They probably spent more time apart than they did together."

Morton enlisted in the Army as a senior at Powell County High School in 1992.

"This was his dream from the time he was a little boy," Noel said of her younger brother. 

"I was more like his second mother than his sister."

Noel said her brother had a strong commitment to his country and the uniform he wore.

"He had a great personality, but when he put his uniform on it was all business," Noel said. "He was always upbeat in his e-mails, and he wouldn't let you say anything negative about our military presence in Afghanistan or Iraq."

Noel said her brother believed in his mission in Afghanistan, and he believed in the war in Iraq.

President Bush addressed the nation on Dec. 18 to talk to America about the past, present and future situation in the Middle East.

"September the 11th, 2001 required us to take every emerging threat to our country seriously, and it shattered the illusion that terrorists attack us only after we provoke them. On that day, we were not in Iraq, we were not in Afghanistan, but the terrorists attacked us anyway-and killed nearly 3,000 men, women and children in our own country. My conviction comes down to this: We do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them. And we will defeat the terrorists by capturing and killing them abroad, removing their safe havens, and strengthening new allies like Iraq and Afghanistan in the fight that we share," President Bush said. "Some look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude that the war is lost, and not worth another dime or another day. I don't believe that. Our military commanders don't believe that. Our troops in the field, who bear the burden and make the sacrifice, do not believe that America has lost. And not even the terrorists believe it. We know from their own communications that they feel a tightening noose, and fear the rise of a democratic Iraq."

Morton made the ultimate sacrifice, as the president mentioned in his address, when he gave his life defending his country.

Morton will come home from Afghanistan a hero, and he will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in Washington D.C., on December 28, 2005, after visitation services at Murphey's Funeral Home in Arlington, Virginia, on December 27.

Noel said the Army contacted Sarah about burying her husband in the national cemetery before she could contact them. It was Morton's wish to be buried in Arlington.

"He took us to Washington D.C. when we went to visit them, and he would not let us leave until we saw the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery," Noel said. "He said, 'wouldn't this be an honor to be buried here.'"

Noel said the family worked with Wells Funeral Home in Stanton, Ky. to arrange a memorial service for her brother. People wanting to pay respect can visit Bowen Church of God in Stanton on December 31 from noon to 2 p.m. For more information, contact Carl Wells Jr. at (606) 663-2203.

"John believed in his country and the military," Noel said. "It was a deep respect and love."


Kentucky soldier killed in combat 
Unit was attacked in Afghanistan 

A soldier from Eastern Kentucky was killed in Afghanistan when his patrol came under small-arms fire, the Pentagon said yesterday.

Sergeant First Class John D. Morton, 31, of Stanton, had enlisted while he was still in high school, Morton's father said last night.

His death shocked the family.

"Oh my goodness, you can't imagine it," said Jerome Morton, 64, a retired carpenter. "I still have trouble believing it."

John Morton died Thursday in Shah Wali Kot, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 74th Infantry Detachment (Long Range Surveillance), 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy.

Morton was married and had three children, Jerome Morton said.

The younger Morton enlisted in the Army as a senior at Powell County High School in 1992, his father said. 

"He was pretty much set on what he wanted to do," said Jerome Morton. "It took him all over the world -- Somalia, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan." 

Morton was due back in Italy in January, his father said. 

In September, during a two-week leave in Italy, Morton saw the birth of his third child, a daughter, his father said. His other children are an 8-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl. He also is survived by his mother, Pearl, and two sisters. 

Jerome Morton said military officials told him that his son's patrol was on a mission in the mountainous area around Kandahar when they were confronted by Taliban fighters. "They were on foot, and the enemy saw them first," Jerome Morton said. "John was hit in the chest."

On the day of his death, Morton had written his parents an e-mail thanking them for sending him a book about the Civil War.

"I don't know if he got a chance to read it all or not," Jerome Morton said. "He said they were getting ready to go out on another mission."

Morton had planned to spend about seven more years in the military before going into teaching, his father said. He said his son will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Jerome Morton said he hoped his son's death would refocus attention on the fighting in Afghanistan. "It seems Afghanistan has been forgotten," he said. "It's still not safe there."

Sergeant Morton will be laid to rest with military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on 28 December 2005.



2 January 2006

BOWEN, Kentucky  - In sharing her memories of Army Sergeant First Class John D. Morton, Air Force Captain Danielle Barnes concluded that her friend did not die in vain.

"He died for exactly what he believed in," said Barnes, who grew up with Morton on Cane Creek in Powell County.

Barnes was among more than 400 people who gathered Saturday at a memorial service for Morton, who was killed while on foot patrol December 15, 2005, in Afghanistan.

Morton, 31, was buried last week at Arlington National Cemetery, but family and friends gathered at Bowen First Church of God, near Stanton, to remember him.

The Rev. Stephen Donithan recalled Morton as a father, Christian and patriot, who even as a boy wanted to be a soldier. "John knew his calling. He knew what he wanted to do," Donithan said. "He worked diligently at his calling, but it went beyond being a soldier. Not only was he a soldier, but he gave his life to Christ.

"And though John may not be with us in body, he still speaks volumes. He speaks to us even through death because he devoted himself to his country, his family and his Lord."

The service was not without controversy. About a dozen people associated with a controversial Kansas minister, the Rev. Fred W. Phelps, showed up to stage a protest.

Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, and his followers believe soldiers in the U.S. military are at risk of God's wrath because the federal government supports gays. They have protested at other soldiers' funerals.

Powell County Sheriff Joe Martin said Phelps' group contacted him several days ago, saying it planned to protest at the service. But after word of the protest spread, a large contingent of residents and representatives of veterans' motorcycle groups, many carrying American flags, showed up to stage a counterdemonstration.

Martin said the Kansas group briefly demonstrated down the road from the church, then later drove past the church in two vans and left the county.

Some people at the church said members of the Kansas contingent, which included small children, yelled insults as they drove by.

Morton, a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, had been scheduled to leave Afghanistan and return to his permanent military assignment in Italy this month.

Morton's father, Jerome Morton, has said his son wanted to stay in the Army about seven more years and then start a teaching career.

He leaves behind a wife, Sarah Morton, two sons and an infant daughter.

JD Morton Valentine's Day 2006 PHOTO

JD Morton Valentine Day 2006 PHOTO

JD Morton Valentine Day 2006 PHOTO
 Photo & Valentine's Day Remembrance By Holly, February-March 2006


Posted: 17 December 2005 Updated: 20 December 2005 Updated: 24 December 2005 Updated: 2 January 2006 Updated: 11 February 2006
Updated: 4 March 2006 Updated: 9 March 2006
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US Army 173rd Airborne Brigade