Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise U.S. Army veteran Morris Furcron poses with a picture of his graduating class from the Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1946.
Jumping out of planes was Morris Furcron’s specialty back in 1946 when he was a member of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.
Furcron enlisted shortly after turning 18 on Dec. 29, 1945, and served for about two years at Fort Bragg, N.C.
World War II ended Sept. 2, 1945, but that didn’t deter Furcron from wanting to join the military and serve his country.
“I missed it and I knew I was going to miss it, but I still wanted to go and do my part because they had the cleaning up and the policing to do afterward and they were going to need soldiers,” he said.
Furcron decided to join the Army based on the experiences of his friends and family.
“A cousin told me that there were more chances and the training was broader,” he said. “A lot of black fellas went to the Navy and were steward’s mates or cooks. You didn’t have a broad choice.”
Furcron wanted to become an airborne soldier after a high school friend shared his experiences of jumping out of planes 1,000 feet in the air.
“I was in an all-black outfit in the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion,” he said. “And we performed well and I think it made a difference in desegregating the 82nd Airborne Division.”
Furcron still reminisces with friends and family about the time he served.
“I’ll never forget the Airborne,” he said. “I mean it’s something that I was proud of and I’ll always remember it and I’ll always look up to those fellas. It gives me a good feeling.”
July 4 is a day that Furcron takes time to think of those who served and those who lost their lives defending their county. He said fireworks are a good and safe way to symbolize war and what some women and men had to face on the battlefield.
“I like the fireworks but I also like to think about the people who gave their lives so that we can celebrate that,” he said. “And we should celebrate but also remember those people.”
He doesn’t believe veterans are given the recognition or benefits they deserve. Nor does he believe people are as interested or supportive as they were when he enlisted.
“At that time I think people were more patriotic than they are now,” he said. “All of the young fellas that I associated with wanted to go in.”
Furcron carried his desire to serve his country with him and served Wellington for many years. He was on the police force for 29 years, was police chief for 11 years, and worked at a foundry for 43 years. He is now, at the age of 87, the zoning inspector for the village.
He is also a member of Wellington American Legion Post 8.
Furcron believes groups such as the legion, AMVETS, and the Eagles should be recognized for the work they do to support active soldiers and veterans. He is hopeful the groups will continue and add to what they do for the brave men and women who served and are serving in the military.
“We wanted to go and do our part, as little as it was for some of us, but we felt that we owed to the country,” he said.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.