KOSCIUSKO — During the Kosciusko County Commissioners meeting, the public took a moment to salute the veteran of the month, Charlie Morton, Syracuse.
The following biography was read before the commissioners:
Charlie was born in 1925 and grew up on a farm near Lebanon. Because his older brother passed away at a young age, Charlie was tasked to work a team of four horses in the fields from the time he was 10 until they bought a tractor at the age of 12.
He was then farming full-time through the rest of his school years. As soon as he graduated from Kirklin High School in 1943, he headed off to war. He entered the service at the age of 18 at Camp Atterbury. He was later sent to Camp Fannin in Texas for basic training.
Charlie was initially given a 2-C farming classification by the draft board, which meant he had a greater chance of staying home on the farm, but he contested that and got a 1-A classification so he could enter the army.
Assigned to the 164 Infantry Regiment, he served in the Asiatic Pacific Theater. Because he had taken a typing class in high school, he was given the classification of “clerk typist” in basic training. But when he reached the Philippines and the soldiers were being assigned duties according to their training, they laughed and said, “When the war is over, we will type it up!”
Later, while awaiting the invasion of Japan, his typing training was put to use writing letters of condolences to the parents of those killed. He participated in the liberation of the Philippines on the islands of Leyte, Negros and Cebu.
He then trained on Cebu for a Japan invasion and took part in the occupation of Japan at the end of the war.
He remained stationed in Japan with the Army’s First Cavalry Division until honorably discharged as a buck sergeant November of 1946.
Honors received included Army Commendation Medal; Army of Occupation Medal Japan; Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon With Two Bronze Stars; Philippine Liberation Ribbon with Two Bronze Stars; WWII Victory Medal; Good Conduct Medal; Combat Infantry Badge.
He had contracted malaria during the war, and when he came back home, he simply returned to farming for a couple of years.
In 1948, he entered Purdue University and earned a degree in agricultural economics, studying under Earl Butts, the future secretary of agriculture for the U.S.
He married Isabel Baker in 1952 and took a job as assistant county agent in Pierceton. After a couple of years as an assistant county agent, he accepted a job as fieldman for Halderman Farm Management Service based in Wabash — a company that now manages farms internationally. They lived in Wabash for a short time and then set up Halderman’s field office in Bremen.
For more than 40 years, he worked with Halderman — managing, buying, selling appraising and analyzing farms of all kinds for owners from all walks of life.
He is also a member of the Kiwanis and won the George F. Hixson fellowship award, the highest honor that can be awarded to a kiwanian.
Charlie and Isabel have three children: Brad (Susan), California; Tom (Carla), Granger; and Beth (Neil), Huntertown. They have eight grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and three great-step-grandchildren.
Charlie and Isabel have been married 63 years.