John C. Morgan, 76, a World War II Army Air Forces flier whose actions in a 1943 bombing raid over Germany won him the Medal of Honor and helped inspire "Twelve O'Clock High," died Jan. 17 at a hospital in Papillion, Neb., after an apparent heart attack. He lived in Bellevue, Neb.
The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest award for valor.
Sy Bartlett, a friend of Mr. Morgan's, wrote the novel "Twelve O'Clock High," which later was made into a movie, starring Gregory Peck, and a television series. A passage in the book and a scene in the movie are said to depict Mr. Morgan's actions in the raid.
A second lieutenant at the time, he was a copilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress when the plane was hit by fire from enemy fighters. The pilot and top turret gunner were wounded. The waist, tail and radio gunners lost consciousness when their oxygen supplies were cut off.
For two hours, Mr. Morgan had to fight off the pilot, who continued to try to fly the airplane despite being crazed by a bullet that had split his skull open. The plane's communication system was knocked out, and it was two hours before the navigator entered the cockpit to help Mr. Morgan. He completed the raid and returned to base, saving both the crew and the airplane.
After leaving the service, he spent 45 years with Texaco in California, selling aviation fuel.
Survivors include his wife, Gladys, of Bellevue; a son; a brother; two sisters; and four grandchildren.