Recently, Navy Veteran Ralph J. Morris celebrated his 100th birthday with staff of the Gulf Coast VA.

The World War II Veteran, who enlisted in 1942, was recognized during the celebration at the Pensacola Joint Ambulatory Care Center by Director Bryan C. Matthews.

“Our Veterans are the reason we exist. To celebrate the 100th birthday of an individual who was involved in one of the world’s greatest conflicts is an honor,” Matthews said. “Mr. Morris’ dedication to his duty serves as an example of what we – as an organization serving those who have served – embody. I couldn’t be more proud to celebrate this Veteran’s milestone birthday.”

Matthews addressed Morris and his family and friends while Home Based Primary Care Manager Ashley Nadeau presented Morris with Navy medals and ribbons he was awarded nearly eight decades ago.

Machinist mate on two destroyers

Morris also received photographs of the Navy destroyers on which he served and a book on World War II ships from Home and Community Programs Medical Director Dr. James Heriot.

Morris was born in Jefferson, Iowa. He served aboard the USS Sigsbee, a Fletcher-class destroyer. Later, he served aboard the USS Alfred A. Cunningham, an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer. During his enlistment, he was a machinist’s mate. He worked in both vessels’ power plants.

After his military service, Morris opened a home furnishings store in Iowa, married, and then raised two daughters. In 1959, the family relocated to Florida, and he worked as a salesman. Recently, the WWII Veteran moved to Crestview, Florida, to live with his daughter.

Devotion to duty speaks volumes

“On behalf of the Gulf Coast VA, I’m honored to wish you a happy birthday,” Matthews said. “Your dedication and devotion to duty during one of our nation’s greatest challenges speaks volumes of who you are.”

More than 16 million U.S. citizens served in World War II, but less than 250,000 are still alive today.

The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System is comprised of the Biloxi VA Medical Center and the Mobile, Pensacola, Eglin and Panama City community-based outpatient clinics. It is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi. The system provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 82,000 Veterans and other eligible beneficiaries along the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast.

By Bruce Cummins is a public affairs specialist at the Gulf Coast VA. Photo by Thomas Coffelt, an audiovisual presentation specialist at the Gulf Coast VA.

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Published on Jul. 4, 2022

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5 Comments

  1. Rooster July 5, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    Per the credits for this feature, the following text was copied and pasted.
    Bruce Cummins is a public affairs specialist at the Gulf Coast VA.
    Photo by Thomas Coffelt, an audiovisual presentation specialist at the Gulf Coast VA.
    No photo was available.
    You may wish to review, edit, etc.

    [Editor: Every single blog post on this website publishes with a featured image. It’s the image that shows when you click the link from social media, and it’s also the image that shows on the blog’s main page at blogs.va.gov. Not all featured images are set inside the blog post copy.]

  2. First July 5, 2022 at 5:23 am

    First.

    Just wanted to comment so there was something here. Thanks everyone who fought for my freedom

  3. Edward V Ragnone Jr. July 4, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    God Bless Him,
    Many young men joined in an historic war against Pure Evil.
    My father and uncles amongst them. I used to hear the funny stories about the Army & Navy.
    My father used to say, “Sgt. Bilko”
    was just like the Army.
    After being in the Air Force myself I must agree. The Whole US Military is like that, “PHIL SILVERS SHOW”.
    YES! There is a Serious Side to our Military. But the Comical Side is TOTALLY HYSTERICAL BOTH in Peace & War Times.
    I am sure this Hero Gentleman has many totally wacky stories about his career that will have people falling down in complete laughter.
    GOD BLESS YOU AGAIN.
    MAY YOU LIVE ANOTHER ENJOYABLE 100 Years.

    Eddy Ragnone
    USAF Retired. DAV

  4. Charles Hannert July 4, 2022 at 7:03 pm

    One of the greatest generations. I am just one step behind you my Veteran friend. Let’s go to 105 plus and really upset the liberals and millennials. Semper paratus. A DAV but far from out of the game.
    Hang in there and don’t let the “old man in”. God bless.

    • Jeff Lange July 7, 2022 at 1:35 am

      You guys are needed today more than ever. All I think about is the men who have all for freedom and evil is at the helm now.

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