Freedom Fighters: Rex Morris

By Joan Hallmark - bio | email

GILMER, TX (KLTV) - "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things, the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling where there is nothing worth fighting for is much worse," said Rex Morris.

"So that was the "Misty" motto," I asked him.

"Weave music in and out of piece," he replied.

During Rex Morris's 22 years in the Air Force, he served his country in many ways, but it was in September of 1969 that Morris became one of only 155 pilots officially assigned to fly in the elite "Misty" squadron in South Vietnam.

"Misty was a pretty elite group of pilots what was your assignment in Misty," I asked Morris.

"We kept a airplane in the trail from daylight to dark," he replied. "We would take off and fly up the trail looking for trucks or supplies or personnel or what ever we could find and then when necessary we would go out and hit the tankers to get refueled and we'd fly back down the trail and sometimes we'd refuel two times maybe thee times."

Flying the two-seat version of the Super Sabre, Misty pilots flew fast and low over enemy territory, disrupting the transfer of enemy supplies and equipment down the Ho Chi Minh trail. Of the 155 pilots, 34 were shot down.

"We didn't get below 30 knots when we were flying on the trails and we were flying rather low," he said. "When you fly that low it's pretty easy to get shot down. I think it's 22% of the Misty pilots, very good pilots were shot down. If you go to the Vietnam wall you can look their names up there, good people. It's a very sobering feeling, very, seeing those 58,000 names there. It's a place you wouldn't want to stay too long I guess."

But the Air Force was a place Morris did want to stay. After 62 dangerous missions in Vietnam, he served as a flight instructor until his retirement in 1977 as a colonel. At that time Rex Morris moved back to the piney woods of East Texas.

"It was an honor and privilege for me to serve," he said. "I would do it again."

As the Misty motto says, "There are things worth fighting for."

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.